Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Love, Sex, and the IRS"

Love, Sex, and the IRS
Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore
Tribe Productions at the Bindlestiff Studio

A 70s sitcom-like comedy, Love, Sex, and the IRS tries so hard to be the great comedy that it is not.  Everything but the kitchen sink is employed for wished-for laughs: mistaken identities, cross-dressing, slapstick falls and slaps, slippage off the 4th-floor onto an unsuspecting victim below, would-be and not-to-be drunks, puns, unexpected guests arriving exactly at the wrong/right moment, and of course -- the IRS auditor who is suspicious, sweet, sex-deprived, and a sot all at the same time.  Even with all these antics, the laughs from the audience were only occasional and usually tepid.  This imported cast from LA performs often at half the speed required to make these kinds of shenanigans really work.  What is needed are Lucy-like skills to pull off these silly lines and situations.  Unfortunately, those are missing.  What particularly makes this production problematic is the director's choice to stage the play as a live screening of a TV sitcom in the 70s.  The scenario and 'applause' sign feel very forced; and the breaks for powdering noses and listening to somewhat garbled commercials zaps whatever energy the audience and cast have been building together in the previous scenes.  Why this production won two "LA Scenie" awards is a mystery.  Don't look for this production to win many plaudits in SF.

Rating: 2 E's

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