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Theater review: 'Kidnapped by Craigslist' at the Elephant

November 18, 2010 |  8:00 pm

Eric_Bunton Those who are easily shocked or have weak stomachs should give “Kidnapped by Craigslist:  The Graveyard Shift” a wide berth.  However, those who like their humor deliciously low may find this production very much to their bad taste.

It’s appropriate that this show has been mounted in the Elephant’s Asylum space. Based on actual Craigslist postings, it ranges from the naughty to the downright lunatic.

That makes for a playfully scary evening, as reflected in Lori Evans Taylor’s staging, a combination of carnival sideshow and B horror movie. Actors in the alternating cast enter Adam Haas Hunter’s cobweb-strewn set through an upright coffin, as a white-faced barker (exotic John Charles Meyer) sets the stage for the various monologues.

This production by TheSpyAnts is a sequel to “Kidnapped by Craigslist,” which played locally in late 2007 to considerable acclaim.  Written by Katie Goan and co-created by Goan and Nitra Gutierrez, this is one high concept with staying power. Considering the endless spew of source material from the fabled list, one can imagine a series of future productions, further permutations on the same twisted themes. 

From a sociological standpoint, “Kidnapped” is fascinating, a series of snapshots showing the fetishes and peccadilloes of a society in which the notions of shame and restraint have been tossed to the swirling winds. Although we suspect some offerings were penned by hoaxers who are just punking us, it's also hilariously funny, with an able cast that merrily escorts us to the dark side.  Be warned, however:  After seeing this show, your face may be forever frozen between a guffaw –- and a pained wince.

-- F. Kathleen Foley

“Kidnapped by Craigslist: The Graveyard Shift,” the Asylum Lab at the Elephant Complex, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood.  8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.  Dark Nov. 26 and 27.  Ends Dec. 18.  $20.  (323) 860-8786.  Running time:  1 hour, 30 minutes.

Photo: Eric Bunton. Credit: Baron Norris