Los Angeles Daily News (LA.com) - December 21, 2007

Stage Review: 'Love Loves a Pornographer'

Triple-X marks the spot for hilarious `Porn' comedy


Jeff Goode has at least three of his plays up at local theaters as we speak. I can't speak to the merits of "Seven Santas" (at the Open Fist Theatre) or "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues" (at the Production Company), but Goode's new comedy, "Love Loves a Pornographer," is a comic ride through manners and blackmail of which Oscar Wilde - who is being lovingly spoofed - would quite approve.

Directed by Jillian Armenante for the consistently stellar Circle X Theatre Company, "Love Loves" is a rich delight for anybody who enjoys seeing language and character byplay bouncing smartly off each other.

My hand went positively numb from copying down choice Goode bon mots for no other reason than because I dug them.

Armenante's production also takes the year's trophy for use of paintings. The walls of the Ford Amphitheatre's indoor space (lovingly rendered, as is the entire set by Gary Smoot) must have 75 of them.

"Love Loves" kicks off with a butler ushering a rector and his wife into the sitting room of Lord and Lady Loveworthy, neither of whom is present. The guests are perturbed. Snooty Rev. Miles Monger (played by Jim Anzide) is a literary critic for the Times of London. His nervous wife, Millicent (Johanna McKay), senses something is amiss. And it is.

The Loveworthys, when they arrive, have kinks of their own. Fragile Lady L. (Gillian Doyle) freaks when she spots the Reverend. Lord Loveworthy (William Salyers) cheerily informs his guest that his latest novel requires a favorable review from Monger.

If the puffed-up critic won't cough one up voluntarily, his host will blackmail it out of him. "You leave me no choice," Loveworthy says, "but to leave you no choice."

We later meet the Loveworthys' daughter, Emily (Kathleen Rose Perkins), who returns from America having fallen in love with a Daniel Boone-ish barkeep from Arizona named Earl Kant (Matt Ford). So, yes, she's engaged to an Earl. Secrets concerning just about everyone will unearth as the play progresses.

Chewing into Goode's puns, wordplay, alliterative stacking and deft send-ups, Armenante's cast is clearly having a good time. Witness the lusty smoldering of Perkins' Emily as she regards her Earl, or the way she fondles a dog-skin hat. Consider the delight that Anzide's Monger - as self-important as he is sinister - experiences in revealing his true colors.

It's a pitch-perfect cast, from Salyers' unflappable Lord Loveworthy to the drollery of Weston Nathanson's butler, Fennimore. Goode's humor ranges from highly sophisticated to silly to crass (see: dog-skin caps), but the tale's energy never flags and the resolution is satisfying.

Goode is good. Thanks to the work of Circle X, he's positively good as gold.

Evan Henerson (818) 713-3651 evan.henerson@dailynews.com



>Where: Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hollywood.
>When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2and 7 p.m. Sunday; through Jan. 20.
>Tickets: $20 to $25. (323) 461-3673, www.circlextheatre.org.
>In a nutshell: Goode gone Wilde is very good, indeed.