Hoarder Rom-Com 'Dirty Filthy Love Story' Brings Sex, Violence, and Crud-Infused Infatuation to Rogue Machine
Rob Mersola's capriciously disturbing hoarder play, Dirty Filthy Love Story, is playing at Rogue Machine. This brilliant fusion of light slapstick, dark humor, and crime thriller plot twists is drenched in loads of grimy, squalid whimsy. With all of the trappings of a wily and violent romantic comedy, Mersola depicts two crud-covered, socially maladjusted hoarders that will do anything for the chance to love and lust amid heaps of dysfunction and dirt. Dirty Filthy Love Story is a perfectly executed, short and slovenly bout of fun that challenges the typical boundaries of theatre in true Rogue Machine style, and certainly serves as a reminder of just how fun and enjoyable theatre can be.
Jennifer Pollono leads the cast of three as the unstable trash hoarder Ashley Floerchinger, blending spirited intent, lively infatuation, and tactful dry humor to actualize her character's scrappy turbulence. Joshua Bitton renders the role of Ashley's well-meaning, trash mongering boyfriend, Halbert Shint, with a congruous union of endearing simplicity and deadpan tact. Together, through skill, stage chemistry, and clever comedic thrusts, Pollono and Bitton make the downright disgusting (like screwing on putrid garbage and munching on Happy Meals with morning breath plaque intact) seem kinda sorta cute and romantic. Burl Moseley rounds out the cast with his energizing, invigorating, and well-honed portrayal of Ashley's neighbor/victim, Benny Steets.
Under the direction of Elina de Santos, Dirty Filthy Love Story is full of quirky silliness and titillatingly executed surprises. De Santos offers her audience a refreshing take on physical comedy through broadly satiating direction. The scenic design by David Mauer and Hazel Kuang is intricately, gloriously hectic and really gives the audience the sense that the stage is a living entity in and of itself. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Mersola's narrative style is as delightfully bi-polar as his characters. The charmingly seedy script pits genial humor against a slightly disconcerting sex-and-violence bubble to show that somewhere—perhaps even deep in the dankest, grossest, most contaminated hidden recesses of Los Angeles—there is indeed someone special and uniquely wonderful lurking out there in the wilder city for all of us. Dirty Filthy Love Story is playing through December 29 at Rogue Machine Theatre with a second run at Skylight Theatre through March 24. Tickets are $10 to $25 and available online, at the box office, or via phone at 855-585-5185.