Theatre 68's cast is dynamite, with a number of standouts. Moe Irvin is wryly humorous as the seemingly carefree but guilt-ridden Rooftop, and Katy Jacoby delivers a powerhouse performance as Inez, his scorned ex-wife. Christian Monzon shines in one of the tougher roles as Edwin, whose years spent caring for Pinky have taken an emotional toll. Ray Cosico is also good as the well-meaning but simple Pinky, a character that could easily be a cliché.
Speaking of clichés, Timothy Alonzo does wonders with the role of Gail, an effeminate wannabe actor who is weary of hiding in the shadows with Flip. Daniel Hutchison provides a nice slow burn as the spiritually exhausted (and ironically named) Father Lux who has no patience for the fast-talking, pot-smoking Rooftop. And Ed Dyer does well by Vic, outraged by the disappearance of the body and even more so by the flotsam he's forced to live alongside.
Guirgis has a splendid ear for the street, and the expletive-laced arguments between Inez and her part-time girlfriend, Norca (Claudine Claudia) are among the show's comedic high points. Technically speaking, this production's direction by Joe Palese is superb and the set design by Hutchison and Joe Dallo makes good use of the spare stage to indicate several locations, supported by Matt Richter's atmospheric lighting.
When Our Lady comes to its conclusion, you realize that you've just witnessed an exorcism of sorts. Some of the characters come away transformed; others continue trudging down the same path they've followed for years.
But there are no particularly happy endings and no easy outs – just like life.
Our Lady of 121st Street, at Theatre 68, 5419 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, plays Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. through June 10. Reservations can be made online or by calling (323) 960-5068.
Photo: Moe Irvin and Daniel Hutchison (Matthew Richter)