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Theatre Review (LA): Love Sick by Kristina Poe at the Elephant Asylum

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Love Sick is one of those harrowing plays that David Fofi and the Elephant love to put on. To be fair, I think the plays are chosen because they are new and edgy and Fofi is a master at the edgy. His casts almost always seem real and willing to go out on limbs. Love Sick has been playing for a while and is now in yet another extension after being chosen as Critic’s Choice by the LA Times. The night I was there the theatre was packed.

The story of Love Sick (by Kristina Poe) centers on a relationship gone bad. The woman (Emily) in this couple refuses to move on and becomes violent around any male she feels is a cheat; her lover cheated on her with a younger and shapelier girl. She kills several people in the course of the play and says she feels better every time. This is supposed to be funny since it is highly implausible but perhaps emotionally honest. In the course of the play she encounters a rather mysterious character who feels that all she needs is a good lay. The whole situation is resolved when she goes to visit her ex and his new girlfriend. Emily discovers that she really left him, not visa versa, so off she goes to have sex with the stranger.

The play seems more like a series of scenes, some much better than others, that exploit these odd character choices. Alexandra Hoover is excellent as the distraught Emily. Dominic Rains is mysterious as the stranger. Melanie Jones is very good as Emily’s mother who couldn’t give a damn, as is Jerry Fortuna as a self-help guru. Salvator Xuereb is convincing as the ex-husband and Kate Huffman stands out as the new girlfriend. But it is Hoover who skillfully guides the evening under Fofi’s direction.

Love Sick plays at the Elephant until Dec 17.

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