Balagan’s Death/Sex 2

Six 10-minute holiday shows with a kick.

While the format of Death/Sex 2: The Holiday Show resembles the company's non-Christmas version from earlier this year (six 10-minute comedies), the contents are a whole different dimension of outrageous. Happily, almost all of the six spiked (laced?) bonbons deliver a kick, with strong original scripts, able casts, and smart direction. Four of the six originated locally, several by familiar Seattle performers, including firmly grounded José Amador and MJ Sieber, who recently played a 10-year-old in Seattle Children's Theater's If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Who knew these sober souls had such commendable depravity in them?Certain themes emerge throughout the pack. Girl-on-girl action or innuendo colors four of the five male-penned scripts (go figure); and major drug habits seem to be funny again, especially when referenced in passing and as afflictions of the demographically unlikely (children, the elderly, etc.). But each piece is distinct in tone and variety of twistedness.Local writer Eric Ankrim's "I Saw Mommy" opens the evening on a triple-wide Barcalounger, where 8-year-old Alice (lanky, wide-eyed Susan Graf) learns the art of seduction from her narcotized, hormonally flooded mother (Terri Weagant), then uses it on Santa ("Nick"), who happily avails himself of what's on offer. Although the skimpy plot steadily devolves, the laughs escalate as Ecstasy-popping Mom talks dirty about Nick giving her "a white Christmas all the way down my esophagus," then fellating the Chapstick-loving Jesus "Merle" Christ. Crass, tasteless, strangely irresistible.To my mind the weakest link of the generally strong evening is "From the Heart," which fits the bill for odd and edgy, but wanders aimlessly and without impact despite the heroic contributions of a talented cast (which includes Weagant and Nik Perleros). The script, by L.A.-based Katinka Lincoln, takes aim at the quirky little ongoing power games between a couple exchanging gifts on Christmas, but the premise gets muddled and not even the actors' considerable charms can save it. Perhaps Balagan imported this script to "represent" for the lady playwrights out there, but it does the gender no favors.Among the show's most enjoyable elements are the funky set-change interludes, during which catwalk-faced cast members strut dominatrix-style while moving furniture to the likes of Portishead.

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