Locked and Loaded at The Other Space

Like a vaguely annoying pop song that eventually gets under your skin until you have no choice but to get up and dance, Todd Sussman’s Locked and Loaded, now receiving its West Coast premiere, showcases the playwright’s knack for funny one-liners – for better or worse.

Sussman has appeared in many sitcoms through the years including MASH, Night Court, The Golden Girls and many more. He has taken that practical experience and applied it to his own work. Unfortunately, this play seems to follow too often the television sitcom format – endless one-liners strung together to produce one laugh after another, with very little substance linking them. A fine cast, however, manages to save this show and, in the end, it’s an enjoyable experience.

It only stands to reason that Irwin Schimmel (Paul Linke) is a television comedy writer with a terminal brain tumor. Through a support group he meets Dickie Rice (Andrew Parks), and together, they plan to end their misery by committing suicide at a posh hote, but not before they live it up with their favorite snacks, lots of alcohol, and a couple of hookers culled from the local trade paper.

The first half of the show establishes the relationship between Irwin and Dickie (again, mostly through. Just when you think it’s about to sink into the most hackneyed Borscht Belt humor for the rest of the evening, the two hookers show up, oddly even before Irwin can place a call for their services.

In saunters Catorce Martinez (Terasa Sciortino), a Latina prostitute with a heart overflowing with love, and Princess Lay-Ya (Tarina Pouncy at this performance), a black tranny with a whole lot of attitude and a foul mouth. With the four main characters in place, the play takes on an otherworldly twist in which Irwin and Dickie are forced to face their past.

If not for the excellent cast that brings these tired (not to mention clichéd) characters to vivid life, the play would suffer from total blandness. The chemistry that flows on stage is electric and the actors look like they actually enjoy playing their parts. Martinez and Pouncy liven up the plot, while Linke and Parks settle into their jokes and set-ups to produce genuine laughs

Performances at The Other Space at Santa Monica Playhouse through April 16. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.santamonicaplayhouse.com or call 310-394-9779, ext. 1.

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About Obed Medina
Obed received his BA in Creative Writing from the University of California at Riverside. He has freelanced and volunteered at various theatre companies in Los Angeles since 2002. He launched his own workshop theatre company in 2008 and has produced six original one-act plays and one Off-Broadway hit. Currently, he is living in Ashland, Oregon working on his writing and founder of Collaborative Theatre Project.

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