Luka's Room Review - A Coming-of-Age Mystery

What happens in Luka’s room? Suffice it to say that you’re in store for a shocker, and there lies the mystery that pervades this play. Between the bawdy belly laughs, knock-down, drag-out fights, and painful silences, LUKA’S ROOM explores how an impossibly naive young man comes to terms with the real world. Joshua Bitton’s direction keeps this talented ensemble on point and the audience eagerly engaged.

 

When his father’s fortunes take a steep dip, 19-year-old Luka is forced to transfer from Arizona State University to Valley Community College, where he moves in with his eccentric grandmother - who is also hosting his recently paroled uncle. Granny Franca lives in the century before ours, and laughter builds as her awkward transitions to the 21st century grow more apparent. And why would she want a computer or need to watch more than soap operas and Jeopardy on television?

 

Luka’s changed life seems to offer lots of opportunities for growth as his uncle takes him under his wing, showers him with the electronic basics every teenager must have, and instructs him in some quick and easy ways to make money. While enrolled in his uncle’s version of Business Marketing 101, Luka meets the beautiful - and available - older woman of 25 who fulfills every teenager’s wet dreams. 

 

Meanwhile, Granny is having more and more “spells” where she seems to be a younger - and unhappier - version of herself battling her long-dead husband’s neglect and marginal fidelity, as well as a few indiscretions of her own. To Luka’s surprise, his resemblance to his grandfather becomes the catalyst for her increasingly volatile scenes. His uncle offers some help and fatherly advice - when he can pull himself away from his new laptop. Which introduces another factor into the equation - what can be so interesting on that Mac? More will be revealed.

 

But nothing can be as involving as an adolescent’s burgeoning sexuality when his uncle’s sexy acquaintance and best marijuana client lets Luka know that he is a very desirable individual indeed. Luka’s room becomes the center of their trysts, and more. Granny seems to be sinking further into a mental morass; and Luka’s uncle is getting calmer and happier. Something is going on - but you’ll have to see LUKA’S ROOM to find out what that something is.

 

Luka (Nick Marini), Uncle Nick (Alex Fernandez), Granny Franca (Joanna Lipari), sexy Angie (Sarah Scott), and Dad AJ (Vince Melocchi) do a splendid job of evoking every chuckle and heart-rending tear present in the strong script by award-winning author Rob Mersola. The clever set moves the story forward, as do some very creative special effects. You’ll have to see it to “reveal” it.

 

LUKA’S ROOM runs from August 1 to September 20, 2015, at 8 pm Fridays and Saturdays and 3 pm on Sundays (no performance on Saturday August 22). ROGUE MACHINE THEATRE is located at 5041 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019. Tickets are $30 - $35. For reservations, call 855-585-5185 or visit Rouge Machine Theatre online!

 

 

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