Gentle readers and #LAThtr aficionadi,
Here follows my latest review for the critical website Stage Raw — which contains current arts and theater coverage from our intrepid team of journalists & critics.
We recommend this fine play.
Gus’s Fashions and Shoes.
Prior to the start of the show, the audience is blasted by gangster rap songs pumping through the speakers at an ear-splitting volume level — a fitting prelude to the edgy, darkly comedic drama that follows. Ron Klier’s Gus’s Fashions and Shoes is macho and talky, with all the action happening in the back room of a store and centering around five larger-than-life male characters. Pagers, walkmen and a rotary phone denote the era as early 90s, when fancy running shoes and label-emblazoned sportswear were must-have fashion items.
The story seems slight at first, more like a colorful character study, as we watch each of the men swaggering, posturing and blustering. The dialogue feels authentic and there’s plenty of dry, droll banter as they interact. Act One establishes the various relationships — tyrannical shop owner Gus (Robert Maffia) and his son Matty (Sam Boeck), a young guy immersed in black culture. Matty’s best friend is De’Ron (Amir Abdullah), an aspiring rapper. Gus seems permanently at odds with his truculent employee Jimmy (Pancho Moler), so there’s a lot of shouting and empty threats thrown about.
In Act 2, however, Klier ratchets up the intensity…
Gus’s Fashions and Shoes
5453 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
Wed.–Sat., 8 p.m.
Run through May 30, 2015. (323) 739-4411. *** NOW EXTENDED THROUGH THURS JUNE 25 ***