LA Review: 'Sukie and Sue: Their Story'
at the Blank Theatre
Reviewed by Neal Weaver
April 30, 2012
Sukie (Lindsey Broad) and Sue (Rae Foster) are housemates and nurses. Sukie takes care of babies on the maternity floor, while Sue is assigned to the grimmer burn ward. The plot is launched when Sue's mother (Mary-Beth Manning) sends her a Raggedy Ann doll for her 27th birthday. It becomes apparent that there's something strange about the doll: It has the ability to move about the house without human aid, it likes to watch television, and it carries cryptic notes concealed in its underpants. Sue is convinced that Sukie and her slacker, pot-smoking boyfriend Sal (Lenny Jacobson) are trying to freak her out, but she's rattled enough to agree to their bringing in a psychic medium, Barbara (Mackenzie Phillips), to deal with the situation. Barbara proves skillful at summoning spirits but hasn't a clue about sending them away. Meanwhile, Sal introduces his handsome but boorish pot dealer, Kelly (Nick Ballard), into the household as a possible beau for Sue, but she doesn't welcome his attentions—and the doll doesn't like him either. Finally, they decide to consult an eccentric priest and exorcist, Father Canary (Eddie Driscoll).
LaChiusa puts a zany spin on the familiar horror-movie tropes. Though his script has about as much substance as a mouthful of cotton candy, he keeps the laughs coming. Director Kirsten Sanderson deploys her actors with a light touch, assisted by Matt Falletta's special effects, which are spectacular enough but more inclined to produce giggles than gasps of terror.
Foster's Sue is a tough, skeptical chick until her disbelief crumbles in the face of escalating disasters. Broad's Sukie is sweeter and more vulnerable. Jacobson's Sal is a goofy, laid-back airhead who provides much of the evening's humor. Ballard lends obnoxious charm to the lecherous Kelly. Phillips' scatterbrained medium is appropriately terrified of the demonic forces she has unleashed, and Driscoll's priest is a pompous incompetent who abdicates his responsibility whenever the situation gets out of hand.
Presented by and at the Blank Theatre, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, April 28–June 3. Thu.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. (323) 661-9827 or www.theblank.com. Casting by Scott David and Erica Silverman.