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Review: 'Sukie and Sue' a demonic romp at Blank's 2nd Stage Theatre

May 10, 2012|By Philip Brandes
  • Sue (Rae Foster) deals with a demonic doll in "Sukie and Sue: Their Story."
Sue (Rae Foster) deals with a demonic doll in "Sukie and Sue: Their… (Michael Geniac )

The demonic potential in even the most innocuous-looking child’s doll should come as no surprise to parents who've felt its eerie supernatural impact on their wallets. But, far more sinister manifestations await in "Sukie and Sue: Their Story," composer Michael John LaChiusa's modest but amusing detour into non-musical playwriting. Continuing his longtime affiliation with Hollywood’s The Blank Theatre, LaChiusa's new horror-comedy’s darkly sardonic sensibilities are very much in alignment with his edgy musicals “Marie Christine” and “The Wild Party.”

Consequently, expect more snarky snaps than outright belly laughs when a ragdoll possessed by an evil spirit shatters the narcissistic complacency of stoners Sukie (Lindsey Broad) and Sue (Rae Foster), two twenty-something hospital nurses who share a one-bedroom apartment and a blasé attitude toward their own bad behavior.

Director Kirsten Sanderson underscores the more offbeat comic elements in this otherwise familiar premise, including recurring confusion over whether Sukie is Japanese (she isn’t even Asian), Sue’s cavalier treatment of the burn victims she cares for at work, and increasingly loopy paranormal events (rendered with appropriately cheesy special effects by Matt Falletta).

The solid cast includes Lenny Jacobson and Nick Ballard as the girls’ drug-dealing boyfriends, and Mackenzie Phillips as a pragmatically self-preserving psychic. The comic standouts, though, are Foster’s deadpan delivery in blowing off any pretext of tact or self-awareness, and Eddie Driscoll’s pompous Father Canary, wielding a portable exorcism kit and invoking the story’s lessons. So beware: mix demons and drugs, and you’re likely to get burned.

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 “Sukie and Sue: Their Story,” The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Ends June 3. $26-$30. (323) 661-9827 or www.theblank.com. Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.

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