Los Angeles Theater Review: THE LIGHTS ARE OFF (Underground Theatre/Hollywood Fringe Festival)

by Sarah Taylor Ellis on June 19, 2012

in Theater-Los Angeles

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A WELCOME MATT

In Matt Soson’s new dark comedy The Lights Are Off, a college dorm room becomes a hotbed of sex, violence, drug dealing, and explorations of identity. The play centers on roommates grappling with competing moral codes. Bad boy Burnt, played by a gripping Mikey Hawley, battles with his uptight Christian roommate Randy, played by Elijah Trichon, whose layered performance conceals and reveals his character’s troubled past. Randy’s visiting younger sister Gwen (the charmingly innocent Rachel Lien) complicates the roommates’ relationship when she falls in love – or at least in lust – with Burnt.

The heightened reality of Soson’s writing enables several thrilling twists in the opening scenes, and a shocking conclusion tests the boundaries of morality and questions the ongoing impact of our youthful misadventures. Although a few characters are unevenly written, Soson’s drama hits close to home for the eager young audience on the night I attended, and the dynamic cast of twenty-somethings sustains the show with outstanding, idiosyncratic performances. Taylor Solomon is a standout as the wide-eyed hippie Riley, and the hilariously stoned trio of Kate (Megan Gail), Benji (Cord Jackman), and Sam (Ian Evarts) deserves more stage time; they buoy the second half of this one-act. Soson’s smart writing and direction, produced and performed by a dynamic company, makes for a compelling evening’s entertainment – and certainly one of the top-pick offerings of the 2012 Hollywood Fringe.

The Lights Are Off
The Working Theatre Company at the Underground Theatre in Los Angeles
scheduled to end on June 23, 2012
for tickets, visit http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/841
for more info, visit http://www.lightsareoff.net/