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One-Act ‘La Mano’ Slow to Engage

Before her play “Brooklyn Laundry” created something of a splash in 1991, Lisa-Maria Radano was a writer for “The Tracey Ullman Show.” Indeed, Radano’s small-screen antecedents are evident in her one-act “Da Me La Mano,” an attenuated television sketch of a play too insubstantial to constitute an evening of theater.

“Da Me La Mano” (idiomatic Italian for “give me your hand”) gets off to a shaky start at the Theatre at 6470 when a lonely manicurist (Diane Botnick) and her customer (Suzanne Kennedy) indulge in a tasteless and dull riff about tampons. Subsequently, in their desultory chatter about men, the manicurist reveals that she once dated the customer’s current boyfriend. From that point, the women squabble, share, bond and finally mutually ditch the heel in question.

Jose G. Garcia directs, too broadly. Initially, the actresses substitute burlesqued Brooklyn accents and spike heels for characterization and timing. However, after the manicurist relates her humiliating jilting by the cad, the interplay between Botnick and Kennedy becomes much more believable--and consequently much funnier. Unfortunately, by the time we’ve recovered from the blundering beginning and really started to be engaged by the play, it’s over.

* “Da Me La Mano,” Theatre at 6470 , the Complex, 6470 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Tuesdays, 8 p.m. Ends Dec. 12. $8. (213) 427-8202. Running time: 45 minutes.

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