Theater review: 'When It Rains Gasoline' and 'Tape' at the Renegade Theater
In the high school halls of “When It Rains Gasoline,” Jason D. Martin’s polemic now running at the Renegade Theatre, conflicts aren’t resolved with a perky, choreographed number. Instead, slighted teens -- be they pregnant, gay or virgins -- sulk or sob their way through this pedestrian drama. Performed by a game ensemble under the direction of Joe Filippone and Joelle Arqueros, “Gasoline” may be impassioned, but its point that “stupid people are dangerous” doesn’t exactly qualify as a revelation.
Things improve during the second half of this evening of one-acts. “Tape,” Stephen Belber’s 1999 cult hit, unfolds in a seedy hotel room on the outskirts of Lansing, Mich. Druggie fireman Vince (Nicolas Read) shares a few cold ones with high school friend Jon (Will Shivers), in town to premiere his indie effort at a local film festival. When Vince brings up a girl they both dated back in the day, accusations and controlled substances flow freely. Then the girl (Whitney Ayers) herself shows up, and the plot takes a sly (if not unexpected) turn or two. Director Arqueros keeps the tension high as Read and Shivers play well off each other. As reunions go, this one’s a live wire.
-- Charlotte Stoudt
“When It Rains Gasoline” and “Tape,” Renegade Theater, 1514 N. Gardner St., Los Angeles. 7 p.m. (“Gasoline”) and 8:30 p.m. (“Tape”) Fridays and Saturdays. Ends Aug. 21. $20. Contact: (323) 769-5566. Running time: 3 hours.
Photo: Nicolas Read, left, and Will Shivers in "Tape." Credit: Joelle Arqueros.