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Theater review: 'Full Disclosure'

May 13, 2010 |  5:00 pm
224.SunnyOfferingCookies In recent years, Chalk Repertory has become known for site-specific theater. If you attend a Chalk production, you may find yourself stumbling through a cemetery after dark, or anxiously checking Mapquest to locate an obscure or far-flung venue.

Wherever you end up, the journey will likely be worth it.  The company’s current production, Ruth McKee’s solo show, “Full Disclosure,” is based on the clever conceit that we, the audience, are prospective buyers attending an open house.  As we enter, we are greeted by aptly named, heavily pregnant Sunny (Amy Ellenberger), a perky real estate agent who plies us with homemade cookies as she shows us around.

Of course, Sunny has a story that she effusively shares during the course of the evening. As she eventually reveals, the house belongs to her married lover and Sunny, just weeks away from giving birth, is a desperate young woman with a hidden agenda.

“Disclosure” is in a far lighter vein than the company’s Ovation-winning “Family Planning,” a voyeuristic peep into a couple’s disintegrating marriage, which was also staged in various private homes over the course of its run.  On opening weekend, “Disclosure” was set in a house on a Van Nuys cul-de-sac. The property is actually on the market, and real estate fliers are handed out along with programs.

Director Larissa Kokernot’s collaboration with the hilarious, poignant Ellenberger amplifies the humor in McKee’s sly script.  Despite an unnecessarily prolonged opener, during which the audience wanders aimlessly waiting for the show to start, “Disclosure” is an innovative entertainment that produces bursts of laughter. Yet there’s an uneasy undercurrent to the humor, the dawning realization that pretty, sunny Sunny is obliquely disturbed, even doomed — as we suspect is her unborn child.  That’s the dramatic punch that lifts “Disclosure” above the realm of mere novelty.

– F. Kathleen Foley

“Full Disclosure,” 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays.  Ends May 30.  $25.  (800) 838-3006. Performance location provided with ticket purchase.  Running time:  1 hour, 30 minutes.

Photo: Amy Ellenberger. Photo credit: Jennifer Chang.