Re-bar, 1114 Howell, 323-0388, $12-$15 8 p.m. Fri.-Sun. ends Sat., May 25
SOME PEOPLE misspent their youths listening to Poison. I misspent mine listening to Broadway concept albums, which was probably part of the same impulse. I remember falling in love with City of Angels when my oldest brother was falling in love with, say, Warrant, and I remember my parents disapproving of both. I was a clich鬠and my brother was a clich鮠The important thing, though, is that we felt like misfits.
Slow Children is a 90-minute gonzo comedy about clich餠misfits; these are characters who believe in their own lunacy, even though everything about them is prescribed. They're caricatures, but they're earnest caricatures. That's why they're funny.
The show is billed as a "glam-metal melodrama." More specifically, it's a comedy about people who take themselves more seriously than they should—and that, I guess, is why it's melodramatic. The curtain opens on Deputy Doug (Ian Bell), a mad-dog policeman who finds himself handcuffed to a couch. (It's still unclear to me how he got there, but I don't think that's the point.) The couch, as it turns out, belongs to a dysfunctional family of glam-metal wackos, who are somehow involved with a band called Fisting the Missus. The metalheads in question—Rikki (Kirk Anderson), Timo (Skot Kurruk), Sandy (Peggy Gannon), and Nina (Kim Nyhous)—bicker about police brutality. Then they can't decide whether to make spaghetti or lasagna. Then Deputy Doug inadvertently falls in love with Nina. Meanwhile, a female cop (Karen Gruber) makes an appearance and falls in love with Rikki (who spends the entire play in a navy blue unitard, doggedly insisting that his outfit is "not a leotard"). Somebody gets shot (twice). Everyone drinks cheap beer. And by the end, playwright Matthew Weiss provides a happy ending that's pretty nonsensical—and all the happier for it.
There's something to be said for understatement, but it won't be said here. Slow Children (performed at Re-Bar by the Bald Faced Lie company) is like an anarchic sitcom: It's superficial, efficient, and performed with unsettling conviction. I wouldn't say that it's remarkable, except that it's remarkably engaging. And somewhere in the middle of all the gun-toting and beer-swilling, there's a sweet comedy here—a comedy about an outcast who seeks, and finds, his inner misfit.