LA Review: 'Sukie and Sue: Their Story'

at the Blank Theatre

Reviewed by Neal Weaver

April 30, 2012


Photo by Michael Geniac
Michael John LaChiusa is best known as a composer of operas and musicals, including "The Wild Party" and the Obie-winning "First Lady Suite" and "Hello Again." Now he has branched out, writing "Sukie and Sue: Their Story," an original comedy receiving its world premiere at the Blank Theatre. It's a good-natured send-up of horror movies and their bizarre special effects. (The announcement that it's based on actual events is presumably tongue-in-cheek.)

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.
 

 
Subscribe to Back Stage

More LA Theatre Reviews

ADVERTISEMENT

Unscripted Blog


Visit Unscripted »

Sponsors

Back Stage Video

Duncan Stewart, director of casting at National Artists Management Company, talks about opening every submission and what he wants to see in a headshot.; casting; Duncan Stewart; headshot; new york city; open submissions; Duncan Steward, director of casting, talks about what he wants from an actor in a general meeting, mainly truth, likability, and lack of ego.; advice; casting; Duncan Stewart; new york city; tips; Duncan Stewart, director of casting, talks about what he expects from an audition and common mistakes actors make.; advice; auditions; casting; Duncan Stewart; new york city; Alaine Alldaffer breaks down the real role of a casting direcor.; Alaine Alldaffer; casting; casting director; Grey Gardens; play; stage; theater; Casting director Alaine Alldaffer talks about casting "Saved" and all the misconceptions about being an actor in New York City.; Alaine Alldaffer; casting director; NYC theatre; play; saved; NY casting director Bernie Telsey describes what actors need to know before walking into an audition. (Part 1 of 2) ; Bernie Telsey; casting director; We spoke with casting director Mark Teschner about working on soap operas. (Part 1 of 3) ; General Hospital; Mark Teschner; soap opera; NY casting director Bernie Telsey describes how to give your best audition. (Part 2 of 2) ; Bernie Telsey; casting director; We spoke with casting director Mark Teschner about working on soap operas. Need only beautiful people apply? (Part 2 of 3) ; General Hospital; Mark Teshner; soap opera; We spoke with casting director Mark Teschner about auditioning for soap operas. (Part 3 of 3) ; General Hospital; Mark Teschner; soap opera; Videos for the Back Stage News & Features section.

ADVERTISEMENT