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Theater review: 'Marry ... or Kill' at Avery Schreiber Theatre

December 11, 2009 | 12:30 pm

400.MFK-writer_directorsPic How’s this for a blind date ice breaker? Arty Jacqueline (Genevieve La Court) informs smoothie Arden (Joshuin Barker) that her great passion is photographing private parts: “Weddings and headshots pay the bills, genitals fill the soul.”

 Well, not for everyone in “Marry, ...., or Kill,” Brad T. Gottfred and Joanne Mosconi’s tart comedy of modern love. Most of the time, sex organs screw everything up, including the imminent wedded bliss of Lily (Rachel Orlikoff) and Billy (Phillip Pruitt), and the codependent soap opera that is Victoria (Marina Steele) and Doc (Rob Beams).

Produced on a shoestring, this irreverent roundelay owes much to the dark romances of Patrick Marber (“Closer”) and Neil LaBute. (Hence the unprintable middle verb of the title, which in this play refers more to an act of aggression than physical intimacy.)

Despite some predictable turns, the psychology here rings true, and it’s fun to watch hyper-articulate men and women find each other exasperatingly clueless. Gottfred and Mosconi, also directing, keep the pace crisp and give most characters enough charm to make their pathologies easier to swallow.

The quality of performance varies, but Mosconi, in the role of one self-loather married to another (Griff Kohout), makes the most of her very, very bad moods; one can only dream of a spin-off show based on her bouts of PMS.

A guilty pleasure for veterans of the single life.

–Charlotte Stoudt

“Marry, ... or Kill.” Avery Schreiber Theatre, 11050 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Ends Dec. 19. $20. Contact: (323) 774-1553. Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes.

Photo: Brad T. Gottfred and Joanne Mosconi. Photo credit: Courtesy of CYUR Studios.