Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SEX.. and now that I have your attention….

Lissa Levin’s SEX & EDUCATION, currently playing at The Colony in Burbank, returns us  back to Eighth Grade Grammar and Senior Composition with genuine laughs that reflect the successes that Levin’s had as a hard working scribe for television situation comedy.  It works. 

William Reinbold, Stephanie Zimbalist,
Allison Lindsey

Isarewaswereambebeenhavehashaddodoesdidmaycanmightmustshallwillwould should could… being.  My eighth grade English teacher's, Mary Duggan’s rhythmic recitation of these twenty-three helping verbs is still with me many years after eighth grade.  We run into some of them again as this raucous ninety minutes unfolds.  It’s simply a lot of fun.  Even uproarious! Hilarious!!

It’s the last day of classes at Jackson High.  The final test for English 101 looms as retiring teacher Miss (not Ms) Edwards, is triumphantly brought to the stage by the fervent Stephanie Zimbalist. She may no  longer be the star we remember from Remington Steele, but she sure retains the same hot energy.   SEX & EDUCATION presents  Miss Edwards’ final test that, if he passes, will cinch Joe’s (confident William Reinbold) full ride scholarship to play basketball at the university of his choosing.   When, Edwards intercepts Joe’s profanity strewn note passed to his honey bunny cheerleader girlfriend, Hannah (lovely and really amped up Allison Lindsey), she launches on one final effort to actually do some teaching. This lesson in grammar and composition is reluctantly absorbed by the big time basketball star. He briefly snatches the power as he does some diagramming of his own. Brilliant stuff. 

All three, actors in this masterful comedy keep the pace and the jokes just keep topping each other one after another.  In a former time as with the LAPD's raids on a production of Michael McClure’s The Beard and the profanity laden comedy of Lenny Bruce were found to be problematic, we find that Burbank just howls and is soon inured to the raw language in favor of the razor sharp thrust and reposte of Levin's over the top wit.  A fourth “actor,” in the piece is Jared A. Sayeg’s beautifully executed lighting design combined with Trefoni Michael Rizzi's simple classroom/ basketball court set. Thus are created opportunities for each of the on stage actors to break the fourth wall with insights and asides. Dozens of lighting cues bring each actor in direct communication with the audience, letting us in on what’s going on inside their heads … and it really works. 

In fact, the show is a hit.  If cussin’s not your cup of tea, forget about it and go anyway! Ya survived The Sopranos, din't cha?

The Colony Theatre
 555 North Third Street (at Cypress)
adjacent to the Burbank Town Center Mall
Continues through Sunday, March 16.
Thursdays & Fridays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 3:00pm & 8:00pm;
Sundays at 2:00pm.
Opening night performance with reception - all tickets $55.00.
Q and A talkbacks after the performances on Friday, February 21 and Thursday, March 6.
Tickets 818/558-7000 ext. 15
$20.00 - $49.00 (group discounts are available)

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