Friday, February 4, 2011

"Collapse": ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

What a fine story. Allison Moore's "Collapse" has everything -- a perfect cast of four, craziness, love, a sex addict support group, a collapsed bridge, a marriage heading for the deep water, even a happy ending. Well, not happy ha ha but happy ai yai yai.

Plus, you get Amy Resnick, who is the nut in charge of the fruitcake. She plays Hannah's sister Susan (we'll get to Hannah in a second). Susan is trouble, wrapped up in a layer of delusionary psychobabble. Hannah, played with equal brilliance by Carrie Paff, is falling apart, while maintaining the veneer of control.

Meanwhile, Hannah's husband David (Gabriel Marin), has suffered a tragedy which has rendered him emotionally impotent, but sexually potent, apparently, while Ted (Aldo Billingslea) has had prostate cancer which means he can emote like mad but no longer do the deed.

The laughs come a mile a minute, but they make you think too. Susan's final line "OK, but you're buyin' the pancakes" is very funny, but Hannah and David's final couplet really defines the show:

David: "How do we keep from collapsing?"

Hannah: "Maybe we don't. Maybe we just figure out how to fall together."

Paff, Marin, Resnick and Billingslea are fabulous, the writing is perfect and the small Aurora stage makes you feel like you're right in the middle of it all. Special shout-out for the original music, written and recorded by James Mitchell, Adam Thompson and Neil Wadhawan.

RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Collapse" Four Stars, one for the writer, two for the actors and director Jessica Heidt and one more because this show just makes you feel good. Even a theater critic needs a good laugh and "Collapse" delivers them in bunches.

Aurora Theater
2081 Addison Street, Berkeley
Through Mar 6

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