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Theater review: 'Bordering on Love' at Company of Angels

June 16, 2011 |  4:50 pm

Borderinglove A face-off between marriage equality and immigration reform centers "Bordering on Love," Evangeline Ordaz's promising comedy in its erratic yet engaging premiere by Company of Angels.

Following a prologue pitting Mexican native Marilu (Silvia Tovar, a find) against airport security, "We Are Family" trumpets forth, and designer Bosco Flanagan's upstage lights go disco-centric on four sashaying drag queens. It's Atlanta, where a preliminary competition toward the Miss Gay USA pageant leaves talented Anthony, alias Antoinette (the endearing T.J. O'Connell), again just missing victory.

Host proprietor and "manager" George (Jeff Vinall) recommends more coaching with Booty (Anne McCarthy), George's steel-magnolia wife. Anthony, however, advertises for a new consultant -- Marilu, whose ministrations turn the tide. Parallel complications -- George's inability to commit to Anthony, immigrant Francisco's (Rudy Marquez) inability to commit to undocumented Marilu --collide as Act 1 closes, with Anthony taking tickling measures to maintain his tiara dreams.

Director Armando Molina makes impressively fluid use of the trapezoid units and wardrobe racks of Jessica Wiebel's scenic design, aided by Cricket S. Myers' eclectic sound plot, Isabelle Ortega's costumes, and Don Allen's campy choreography.

Ordaz's text is certainly original, but it needs fewer sitcom lines, obviated vignettes and certain plot elements that tax suspension of disbelief. Fortunately, the cast is enormously appealing, with a lovely antic chemistry between Tovar and O'Connell. Vinall and McCarthy keep their archetypes from clich√©; Kamil Haque finds infinite variants within multiple emcees; and the three drag competitors -- Marquez, Christian R. Gibbs, and bone-dry Kenneth Sears -- are priceless. If Ordaz and company commit to the necessary revisions, this warm-hearted topical parable could become a winner.

-- David C. Nichols

"Bordering on Love," Company of Angels at the Alexandria, 501 S. Spring St., 3rd floor, L.A. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends July 2. $20. (213) 489-3703 or Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes.

Photo: Silvia Tovar (l.), T.J. O'Connell and ensemble. Credit: Rafael Cardenas.