I was excited to see this show, because I'd seen so many shows at NoHo Arts Center which I've loved in the past - "Dorian," "Ghost & Mrs. Muir," "Lizard," and even a reading of "The Thief." What I really appreciate about the shows produced there is that they NEVER white wash their shows - they all have SUCH an edge to them and hold nothing back, which I appreciate. They're generally darker in nature and the smaller venue allows the audience to really feel the raw energy of the performers.
"Pest Control" is no different. While it may have been more comedic than most of the shows produced there, it still had the signature darkness... which, I have to admit, is attractive to me. The show is about a geeky exterminator who gets involved in a mistaken identity farce with the CIA... The story itself was interesting, but I fear at times the music (which a lot of the time broke into rap lyrics...) was a bit too unconventional.
The performances were amazing, though. Darren Ritchie, who I'd previously seen as Jimmy in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" on Broadway - which was SUCH a departure from this role! - was great as the geeky Bob Dillon (yes, that was his name...) He reminded me a bit too much of Nobert Leo Butz in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", even his facial expressions, mannerisms, and clothing... Beth Malone was incredible as his love interest Parker - a CIA agent who falls for Bob. Beth does comedy extremely well, and can deliver even the most difficult line hysterically. She was a definite highlight of the show for me.
The show had life-sized bug costumes for the performers - visually it was stunning and creepy as hell, but added to the surreal-ness of the entire storyline. The best line? When they broke the 4th wall and Bob said, "All I wanted to do was find a nice woman and fall in love -- which I thought I was on to a good start there in Act 1..." Also, this is one of the first NoHo Art Center shows I saw that had the actors mic'd - which I liked. All in all it was an okay show -- for a show with dancing bugs, I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. :)
In the evening I saw "Flora the Red Menace" at UCLA. Eden Espinosa is always great, and Manoel Felciano is absolutely GORGEOUS however,... I'm not sure that the story is something that I could really get into. Sadly, the show was just so-so for me... The performances were all so wonderful, but I found myself wondering at intermission if it was worth staying for Act 2, which I haven't done in a very long time... I ended up staying (I have yet to walk out on a show at intermission - the closest I came was "Sneaux" at the Matrix in 2003...) and I'm glad that I stayed. The 2nd act was much stronger, but all in all the show was just so-so for me.
I'm headed home this afternoon, but I wanted to thank you all for indulging me once again and listening to my theatre babble. I have really come to realize that these theatre trips are really good for my soul... without them, I probably would've quit my job a long time ago...
HUGS to everyone!!