It started out as quaint dinner party of four and evolves
into a frenzied blood bath, literally. Our hosts are the mischievous couple Ralf
Tommy French) and Sarah Kenner (
Lauren Olipra). The unsuspecting guests
are Edith Mole (
Kimberly Dilts) and
husband Bastian (
Arbogast). Ralf and Sarah are a slightly off couple who are looking forward
to toying with their latest prey. Edith is surprised and flattered that
co-worker Sarah has invited her to a dinner party. The problem is that she has
to bring her hyper-sensitive, overbearing husband, shining a floodlight on the
architect’s embarrassing lack of social skills.
The host couple seems to tolerable Bastian’s awkwardness quite well; right up until the moment they blow the lid off his head by suggesting that the oak chest in the center of the room contains the body of Sarah and Edith’s co-worker, Mr. Kolpert. Is Mr. Kolpert in the trunk or isn’t he? Edith decides to play along while Bastian labors to decide if Ralf's incessant claims of murder are real.
There’s not much more that can be said about the show without giving something away. There is a Pizza Man ( Adam Wasser) that gets caught up in the mix and an eventually appearance by Mr. Kolpert ( Justin McQuaig) himself. The rest is witty, rapid-fire banter, some nifty stage slapstick and the darkest comedy seen on LA Stages in some time.
Director Mike Monroe notes that he wished to revisit that more innocent world pre-9/11, pre-Columbine. Once upon a time, films like “ The War of the Roses” (1989) and “ Heathers” (1989) were championed for their darkness. In live theatre, in plays like Christopher Durang’s “ The Marriage of Bette & Boo” (1985) made audiences squirm in their seats as they giggled guiltily against their will. Mr. Kolpert harkens back to a world when open cynicism was new and black comedy was king. This production lovingly and skillfully resurrects this forgotten genre.
Mr. Kolpert is staged in a performance space carved out of the
Fake Gallery, an artist’s space covered
wall to wall with original, purchasable art. Sans a stage or curtains, the
modest set serves as more than enough environment to suck the audience into the illusion
while creating just the right level of claustrophobia.
Kimberly Dilts and
Lauren Olipra gave especially memorable performances among a fine cast of actors.
When happy hour ends at your favorite haunt next Tuesday or Wednesday, head on over to the Fake Gallery for a topper. Do allow time to park. Do not wear white. Do try the house cocktail a “ Director’s Imp.” Do not be beguiled; this show is easily 80 minutes. Do treat yourself to a dark douse of silly and sinister theatre.
Norton People presents Mr. Kolpert, running now through March 12, 2001 at:
The Fake Gallery
4319 Melrose Ave
Hollywood, CA 90027
Tickets: $10 Tuesday, Wednesday @ 8:30pm