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Arts and Entertainment

Theater Review: Theatre Unleashed Undertakes 25 Plays in an Hour...Almost

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Theatre Unleashed's 25 Plays Per Hour hits its mark--just not in an hour. Ben Atkinson and Noah Butler star in 'Serial Killer' | Photo: Theatre Unleashed


Theatre Unleashed's 25 Plays Per Hour hits its mark--just not in an hour. Ben Atkinson and Noah Butler star in 'Serial Killer' | Photo: Theatre Unleashed
Theatre Unleashed threw down gauntlet when they sent out a press release advertising the running of 25 plays in an hour. How is that even possible? We were a little dubious, naturally, because that meant each "super-short" play had to average 2.4 minutes. But we took the bait anyway.

So when the first play Independence Lay--a sci-fi comedy--hit the three minute and change mark, we knew that we'd been had. But the evening turned out to be a night of entertaining plays and sketches that we didn't mind that the clock had runneth over.

Directed by Jacob Smith, the production's 25 original works featured eight of the company's actors playing more than 50 characters. When seeing a series of short plays, there's always the risk of sitting through more bad and ugly than good, but in this case, the majority of the 25 plays and sketches were well-developed and beguiling.

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Some of the standout works included: re-enactments of Real Emails from Match.com, written by cast member Katie Sikkema; Better Not to Ask by Darren Mangler that featured the conscious and subconscious thoughts of a couple on a road trip; and the three-part Serial Killer by Jacob Smith with outstanding performances by Ben Atkinson and Noah Butler, as the show-tune loving captured and captor, respectively.

Atkinson laid claim to the standout performances, showing both a deft touch with the physical comedy as well during the evening's dramatic turns like the heart-tugging 2 Minute Life Story by Jacob Smith.

25 Plays Per Hour
at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre
4150 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake, Calif.
Fridays and Saturday at 8 pm
Through Dec. 4
$15