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Arts and Entertainment

The Young and the Feckless: 'Ruffian on the Stair' at Whitmore-Lindley Theatre

Rebekah Tripp and Jason Thomas in Ruffian on the Stair.' (Photo by Karianne Flaathen.)
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Joe Orton's one-act farcical tragedy, Ruffian on the Stair, is playing at Whitmore-Lindley Theatre in North Hollywood's invigorating theatre district. This black comedy focuses on the impacting complexities of the outside world on the unromantically simple, yet greatly appreciated love between a middle-aged couple with a sketchy past, Mike and Joyce. Orton highlights the desperate and volatile inclinations of love, attachment, and life itself through a heartbroken and intimidating troublemaker that infiltrates Mike and Joyce's inner sanctum -- a raw, transitory, one room apartment. Under the carefully unsettling direction of Geoffrey Wade, Ruffian on the Stair features Orton's excellent script, detailed costuming, and three suspense-minded, capable players.Perfectly cast Rebekah Tripp leads the production as retired prostitute turned unmarried housewife Joyce. Obviously relishing the character, Tripp infuses her role manifoldly with detailed gestures and dour meekness. She sets Joyce's fear, sympathy, and passivity against a dueling aura of agitated loathing, misguided longing, and unconditional love. Her performance is markedly detailed.

Adam Meyer and Jason Thomas have perfect on-stage chemistry with Tripp. Meyer breathes energy, forgiving esteem, and cheeriness into the dark and incongruent role of Mike, an absent minded, sexist, and Joyce-enamored hit man. Playing Mike's young antithesis, Thomas seems to have a knack for menacing subtlety, giving the suicidal, tortured, and flatly-affected Wilson an undercurrent of disturbed and frantic determination amid somber anguish.

Ruffian on the Stair is playing through April 3 at Whitmore-Lindley Theatre, located at 11006 Magnolia Boulevard, North Hollywood,CA 91601. Tickets are available online through the Whitemore-Lindley Theatre or via phone at 310-622-5375.