To call Will Arbery’s “The Mongoose” an oddity would be an understatement. Now in its world premiere at the Road on Magnolia, the play is an engagingly nonsensical, frustratingly elliptical piece that seems straight out of William Blake, by way of Lewis Carroll.
Although overwritten, digressive and at times just plain twee, “The Mongoose” is so flagrantly unexpected that it sometimes borders on the visionary.
The beleaguered Mercer clan is in a meltdown. Suicidally sad mom Leanne (Blaire Chandler) has run away from home, and dad Cole (Dirk Etchison) has invited his homeless “college friend” (actually lover) Dave (Michael Dempsey) to move in with him. Son Joe (Kevin Shipp) is a volatile delinquent with a history of violence. Meanwhile, “normal” daughter Kay Bailey (Arielle Fodor) struggles to mend the domestic fractures -- an increasingly thankless task.
Subtle design elements -- Chad Dellinger’s pointedly shoddy set, Derrick McDaniel’s unobtrusive lighting and most notably, Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski’s understated sound -- are also necessary anchors to Arbery’s overwrought but fascinating fever dream. Poised to float into the ether at any given moment, “The Mongoose” may be indescribably bizarre, but it is also memorable.
Where: The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays, 3 p.m. Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends April 17.
Info: (818) 761-8838, www.roadtheatre.org
Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
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