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Review: ‘Dirty Filthy Love Story’ at Rogue Machine a trashy delight

Jennifer Pollono, Burl Moseley and Joshua Bitton in 'Dirty Filthy Love Story' by Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater.
(John Flynn)

Rob Mersola’s “Dirty Filthy Love Story” is a world premiere from Rogue Machine that follows hard on the heels of the company’s 2011 hit, “Small Engine Repair,” slated for an off-Broadway opening in 2013.

Rogue Machine deserves high praise for scouting out edgy world premieres -- and certainly, “Filthy” is so stratospherically over-the-top that it goes into orbit.

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The center of Mersola’s vertiginously revolving cosmos is Ashley Floerchinger (Jennifer Pollono, in a delightfully galumphing turn), a secret hoarder whose neighbor, Benny Steets (flamboyantly exasperated Burl Moseley) is down on his luck and desperate to sell his house -- not so easy with a “crazy trash lady” next door. When Benny hires Halbert Shint (comically slack-jawed Joshua Bitton), to remove the detritus, lonely Ashley and lovelorn Hal click in ways that only the truly deranged can.

To say much about David Mauer and Hazel Kuang’s remarkable scenic design would be a spoiler, but their splendid set is as full of surprises as are these fractured, funny characters. Leigh Allen’s lighting and Christopher Moscatiello’s sound are also first-rate.

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Granted, Mersola’s tale could use a bit of shoring up here and there, as baffling references and unresolved story points sometimes bury the flow of logic. However, under the light-hearted guidance of director Elina de Santos, the able cast achieves a lunatic buoyancy that sends the play soaring above its niggling dramaturgical flaws. As for Mersola’s delightfully trashy play, it gets more outrageous with every scene -- and that’s a very good thing indeed.

“Dirty Filthy Love Story,” Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater, 5041 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Fridays, 8 and 10 p.m. Saturdays. No 8 p.m. performance on Dec. 15. Closes Dec. 29. $20-$25. (855) 585-5185. www.roguemachinetheatre.com. Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

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Now at Skylight Theatre, 1816 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, Sat. April 13, 5 p.m.; Ends Sun. April 14, 7 p.m.

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