The Plain Dealer - April 21, 2006

Tony Brown


Inventive, risque production teaches adults-only lessons

Friday, April 21, 2006

Poona the [Expletive]dog

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Through Saturday, May 13.

Where: The Liminis, 2438 Scranton Road, Cleveland.

Tickets: $12. Call 216-687-0074.

Once upon a time in trendy Tremont, Convergence-Continuum theater shocked and titillated and entertained utterly.

Convergence, which operates in a snug former garage, has opened its 2006 season with "Poona the [Expletive]dog, and Other Plays for Children."

It is not for children. It is a cautionary tale for those who consider themselves adults.

The Man Who Could Sell Anything does so, including cigarettes, which "kill children."

The King of Do (where nobody does) is a walking television with a fair and balanced foxtail.

A reporter sneaks into heaven and wins $500 stumping God.

Central to all of this is a young girl named Poona, with whom no one will play. Until, that is, she discovers she can lure the Handsome Prince with sex. She attains fame (and the Heisman Trophy and a Super Bowl berth), but she eventually regrets her indiscretions.

If "Little Red Riding Hood" is a thinly veiled attempt to get young ladies to keep their legs crossed and their feet in a bucket, "Poona" is an overt lampoon of the same.

By former Chicago writer Jeff Goode, "Poona" has the crazed, off-balance drive of storefront theater in the Windy City, where it debuted in 1999.

The Convergence production, directed with zest by a puckish Clyde Simon, needs more rehearsal of its singing and dancing episodes. But it is inventive (the Fairy God Phallus get-up alone is worth the $12 entry fee) and energetically acted.

Melt-in-your-mouth Jovana Batkovic leads the insanity as a guileless Poona. Lucy Bredeson-Smith makes a cynical television. And Wes Shofner gives the Man Who Could Sell Anything and God equal anti-gravitas.

The 11 performers enliven this enchanted (and twisted) forest with enough weirdos to overpopulate the Old Woman's spike-heeled shoe. They all live happily -- more or less -- ever after.

To reach this Plain Dealer columnist:, 216-999-4181