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‘Dog on Linoleum’ finds firm footing

Special to The Times

The pull of a born raconteur meets the soul of a grown survivor in “Like a Dog on Linoleum” at the Elephant Asylum Theatre. This solo confessional from stage and screen imp Leslie Jordan is a remarkable achievement in autobiographical performance.

That Jordan, a Hollywood character fixture since 1982, is supreme at mining pathos will not shock those who have witnessed his award-winning collaborations with playwright Del Shores. Fans of Jordan’s traded barbs with Megan Mullally on TV’s “Will & Grace” already know his masterful comic reach.

What surprises and delights in “Like a Dog on Linoleum” is the unforced honesty and spiritual purpose under writer-performer Jordan’s nonlinear approach. From abortive opening drag turn to thematic final benediction, this compact dynamo pulls us into his confidence with house-shaking hilarity and heart-tugging candor.

Though expertly scripted, Jordan’s account of his Chattanooga childhood, nascent career and lifelong penchant for substances and bad boys has the spontaneous effect of an after-hours gabfest. Under David Galligan’s prudent direction, Jordan’s characterizations are exemplary in their detailed authenticity. His parents, the hometown eccentrics known as Sister Irma and Betty Dear, and various poor romantic choices are representative of the fully formed portraits that emerge.

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Lighting designer Leigh Allen is an impressive ally in this deceptively scattershot mission of recovery through laughter. By sharing his life lessons, particularly those involving patriarchal issues, Jordan strikes a chord that transcends gender, faith or region. Beneath the seen-it-all sass and Tennessee sentiment, Jordan’s intent comes gaily from the heart, and his rich artistry conjures up a memorable Southern-fried miniature.

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‘Like a Dog on Linoleum’

Where: Elephant Asylum Theatre, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood

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When: 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays

Ends: Nov. 7

Price: $25 to $30

Contact: (323) 960-1083 or www.brotherboy.com

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Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes


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