Bittersweet Love Swells in the Social Underbelly of L.A. in 'Birds of a Feather' at Ruby Theatre

Christina Hart's new play, Birds of a Feather, is playing at Ruby Theatre inside the Complex in Hollywood. Hart's bittersweet Los Angeles love story depicts the various avenues to clumsy infatuation, humbling devotion, and fluxing possibility through the story of an aging sex worker, her socially awkward client, their favorite bartender, and his special needs son. Based on the lives of real people known to the playwright, the dramedy is a perfectly constructed, nicely staged, entertaining play that stays true to its real-life roots through Hart's fearless embrace of uncertainty. Hart's script is full of earnest, endearing sincerity for all people regardless of social status.

The cast is collectively understated and empathic as they offer up performed homage to the broken down, unsung, everyday sort of heroes that they portray. Kara Pulcino plays the morbid, but sensitive sex worker Cee Cee with understated, sentience-steeped semblance that keeps the audience on their toes. Playing Cee Cee's love interest and regular client Joey, Eddie Kehler blends excellent comedic timing, deep perceptiveness, and fine-tuned attention to detail to engage and truly entertain the audience. Graciously driving the secondary story line, Patrick John Hurley is beautifully nuanced and charismatic as Walt, an utterly endearing sage of a father and bartender. Finally, Michael Piznarski rounds out the cast with his true-to-life, respectful, and honest rendering of Reggie, Walt's special needs adult son. After having seen many horribly stereotypical and disgusting portrayals of special needs characters in other plays, we really, really love Piznarski's dignity-demanding performance.

Under the thoughtful direction of Rober Burgos, the play is a smooth, easy to love production that exudes perceptive authenticity. Burgos perfectly realizes human fragility born out of moments of cautious uncertainty, often using it to build attention-grabbing tension on the stage. The highly detailed set design of Marco De Leon entails a lumbering and lengthy scene change, but for the most part the set is gorgeous and worth the wait.

Birds of a Feather is playing at the Ruby Theatre in the Complex through Sunday August 5. Tickets are $20. Ticketing is available online, at the door, or via phone at 323-960-7785.