Dark Humor and Disturbing Plot Twists in 'Five Uneasy Pieces'

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Todd Waring and Lyman Medeiros in 'Five Uneasy Pieces.' (Photo by Virginia Anzengruber)
Five Uneasy Pieces is currently playing at Santa Monica Playhouse. Written and performed by Todd Waring, this series of aptly titled one act monologues is full of dark humor, disturbing plot twists, and satisfying ambivalence. Under the direction of Don McManus, the show is visually stark and minimalist, although moody upright bass accompaniment by Lyman Medeiros or Steve Pandis fosters a sense of warmth. Five Uneasy Pieces is delightful, provocative, and joyously gratifying.

Waring's Five Uneasy Pieces showcases his envy-evoking talents for both writing and performance. With minimal time and rich, but frugal language, Waring constructs six gradually climatic character studies that vary wildly in tone and sentiment. His attention to natural detail lends believability and eerie familiarity to eccentric and emotionally complex characters. Waring is a charismatic performer, affectionately delivering each monologue with tact and sympathetic subtlety. Waring lulls his audience into a reality-suspending trance that ignores typical constraints of age, gender, race, sexual preference, and nationality.

Five Uneasy Pieces is playing at Santa Monica Playhouse through February 27, 2011. Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 4th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Tickets are available via phone at 323-960-5521 or online through Plays 411.