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Theater review: 'Greedy' at the El Centro

January 13, 2011 |  7:00 pm

Greedy-5NCPlaywright Karl Gajdusek is so prolific and so frequently produced that one wonders why “Greedy,” now being presented by Red Dog Squadron at the El Centro Theatre, is such a dramaturgical muddle.

As is typical with Red Dog productions, “Greedy” is crisply offbeat and well acted, but the best efforts of director James Roday and his talented cast fail to smooth out the rough edges of Gajdusek’s fractured story line.

Hapless have-not Louis (Brad Raider), a would-be inventor, is content with his modest means and his mannish security guard wife, Janet (Amanda Detmer, playing hilariously against type).  But when his scheming sister Keira (Maggie Lawson) convinces him to assist her in a scam involving Nazi paraphernalia, Louis is drawn inexorably into disaster.

Their intended dupe is well-meaning doctor Paul (Kurt Fuller, alternating in the role with Peter Mackenzie), who is currently plagued not only by a ruinous lawsuit but also by his Bosnian wife Tatiana’s (Ivana Milicevic) obsessive desire to have a baby -– a craving the infertile Paul cannot accommodate.

Gajdusek has a knack for dialogue, but his intentions are as arcane as the characters’ motivations.  Paul’s transition from do-gooder to wannabe killer to bizarrely generous philanthropist strains credulity, while Keira’s deadly vendetta against her previously beloved brother seems specious at best. 

In Kurt Boetcher’s bisected set design, Louis’ house is suitably moldy and cluttered, but Paul and Tatiana’s digs seem more spare than sumptuous, and John Zalewski’s obtrusive sound design, which features lots of loudly dripping water, wears on the nerves.  Sadly, so does the curiously arbitrary nature of Gajdusek’s play.

-- F. Kathleen Foley

Greedy,” El Centro Theatre, 804 N. El Centro Ave., Hollywood.  8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.  Ends Jan. 29.  $20.  Running time, 2 hours, 10 minutes.

Photo: Ivana Milicevik and Amanda Detmer in "Greedy."  Credit:  Kurt Boetcher