Review: ‘Doomsday Kiss’ at Bootleg Theater


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It’s the end of the world as we know it in ‘Doomsday Kiss’ at Bootleg Theater. This multimedia collaboration explores apocalypse in fascinating, albeit uneven, ways.

A co-production between Bootleg and the REPO Division, ‘Doomsday’ makes its intentions clear immediately. The parachute-dominated lobby sports riffs on the central theme by multiple noteworthy artists. This provides context for the plays that unfold on designer David Offner’s storeroom-contoured set, starting with Clay Hazelwood’s ‘Who Is Randall Maxit?’


Directed by Andrew Hopper, ‘Maxit’ begins with Gray Palmer’s incognito title character welcoming us to a murkily defined party. Recurring across the evening, the piece gradually exposes Randall as a doomsday architect. Though its fragmented format prohibits undiluted involvement, Palmer’s reactions to Niamh McCormally and Annie Weirich as the agents of his conscience are compelling.

‘You Might Be Waking Up’ by Sharon Yablon is an overtly satirical look at survivors in an office after a mysterious disaster. Under Gordon Vandenberg’s direction, Hank Bunker and Tina Van Berckelaer as the default Adam and Eve find considerable layers beneath their caustic exteriors. Mickey Swanson and Shaughn Buchholz make broadly comic interlopers.

‘Fun Days at Sea’ is Eva Anderson’s elegy for two cruise-ship swingers (Michael Dunn and Jessica Hanna), newlyweds (Ben Messmer and Alana Dietze, alternating with Alina Phelan) and a bartender (Babar Peerzada). Adrian Alex Cruz stages it well, yet the ‘Outward Bound’-flavored narrative would benefit from larger scope.

So would Wesley Walker’s ‘The Classroom.’ Directed by Amber Skalski, this post-Shirley Jackson account of an unnerving school in the country is intriguing yet inconclusive. However, Jacqueline Wright and Lily Holleman offer hilarious postmodern turns as enigmatic schoolteacher and libidinous interviewer, respectively.

Brandon Baruch’s lighting and Caroline Duncan’s costumes provide pert atmosphere throughout. If ‘Doomsday Kiss’ exhibits the vagaries typical of theater-by-committee productions, there’s worth and promise to its End of Days collage.

-- David C. Nichols

Doomsday Kiss,’ Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends May 10. $10-$25. (213) 389-3856. Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes.