Los Angeles Theater Review: THE HOMOSEXUALS (Celebration Theatre at Atwater Village Theatre)

Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE HOMOSEXUALS (Celebration Theatre at Atwater Village Theatre)

by Tom Chaits on October 27, 2013

in Theater-Los Angeles

ROLE REVERSAL

For its inaugural production at its new temporary home in Atwater Village, the Celebration Theatre has mounted The Homosexuals (pun intended). As one might glean from the title, Philip Dawkins’ play deals with the trials and tribulations of a group of gay friends and, of course, their self-proclaimed requisite “fag-hag.” In essence it’s a story of the nature of friendship, including who’s zooming who and how did we get here from there. Its themes are more universal with equal applicability to both the hetero and homo world, although I doubt many “breeders” will stroll into the theater expecting to see themselves portrayed on stage.

Brian Dare and Butch Klein star in the West Coast premiere of the Celebration Theatre production of THE HOMOSEXUALS.Told in a series of six vignettes, the story starts in the present and works itself backwards in time á la Merrily We Roll Along on stage and Memento on the big screen. At first we meet Evan (Brian Dare), who’s breaking up with his current boyfriend and musical theater queen Peter (Butch Klein) at an ice skating rink. As we flashback we are introduced to others in the group, most of whom we will learn have come to know Evan in the biblical sense. There’s buff, black HIV-positive “British” Mark (Ben Patterson), gay activist regular Mark (David Fraioli), Michael (Kurt Quinn) the less-than-confident nerdy guy who can’t get laid, and Collin (Matt Crabtree) who falls for Evan and is the first to give him a big warm welcome to town. Thrown into the mix, as the token vagina, is gal-pal Tam (Kelly Schumann).

The problem with Mr. Dawkins’ script is that nothing of particular interest happens. Telling the tale in reverse is a unique device to employ but it doesn’t add enough oomph to the lackluster story to have a real impact. The individual scenes are entertaining enough but amount to little more than a pleasant diversion. No doubt many viewers will feel a twinge of familiarity with their own lives but that’s hardly enough to make a night of riveting theater.

Ron Patterson and Brian Dare in the West Coast premiere of the Celebration Theatre production of THE HOMOSEXUALS.

Directed by Michael Matthews, the cast for the most part is consistently good. In particular, Mr. Dare does a bang up job as Evan. As he regresses, his subtle character changes in age work well, aided by Allison Dillard’s costume design. The other standout in the cast is Schumann, whose multi-layered interpretation makes Tam a fully fleshed creation. As Peter, Butch Klein is anything but that; I know theater queen and flamboyant go hand-in-hand but this portrayal is way over the top and seems completely out of place with the tone of the rest of the cast.

Kurt Quinn and Brian Dare star in the West Coast premiere of the Celebration Theatre production of THE HOMOSEXUALS.

Production values are acceptable but not stellar. The scenic design by Stephen Gifford is functional but not particularly pleasing to the eye. The lighting design by Tim Swiss and Zack Lapinski does what it’s supposed to but doesn’t bring anything extra to the table.

With the weaknesses in the script and merely average look of the production it’s the direction and acting that carry the day. You’ll more than likely leave with a smile on your face but it’s doubtful that you’ll be screaming “That was fabulous!”

Brian Dare and Kelly Schumann star in the West Coast premiere of the Celebration Theatre production of THE HOMOSEXUALS.

photos by Sean Lambert

The Homosexuals
Celebration Theatre
Atwater Village Theatre
scheduled to end on December 1, 2013
EXTENDED through December 21, 2013
for tickets, call ­(323) 957-1884 or visit http://www.wecelebrationtheatre.com

Comments on this entry are closed.