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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Waste of Shame


I want to be a truly free man. Each day is mine. --- H-Bomb


Ron Klier has hold of a good idea in Waste of Shame. More development would make it better.

Chris (Johnny Clark) and his fiancÚ Melanie (Kimberly-Rose Wolter) share a small apartment with Chris's best friend and college roommate, H-Bomb (Kyle Johnston). This is a bad idea at best and H-Bomb is far from the best. An intellectual free spirit, he's an alcoholic with no purpose or self-confidence. He glories in losing jobs, sells his stuff on the internet but doesn't mail it to buyers because he doesn't feel like it and, most irritating of all to Melanie, he hasn't paid rent for six months.

Chris, a CD addict who keeps his precious collection padlocked seems to want to keep Bomb around perhaps as an embodiment of the freedom he'd like to have or as a last vestige of his youth. They still call each other "dude" ad nauseum.

Melanie fruitlessly nags Bomb to get a job. She tells him that he's not supposed to like jobs (She hates hers as a nursery school supervisor).

This is an irritating trio. Tension begins to mount in the second act. Having found a collection of vicious weapons in Bomb's bag at the end of Act I, it's no surprise Chris in Act II finds Bomb's hand and the bathroom blood-bathed. This story line is dropped, however, and the end of the play is problematic.

Chris is torn between the free bachelor life and a family life with Melanie, but with two such disagreeable characters to choose from, the big mystery is why he's involved with either one. Bomb ultimately accuses him of never bringing any friends around and this whiney note seems to indicate both Bomb's clinginess and Chris's sub-conscious aversion.

Kimberly-Rose Wolter holds her own by bringing animation to Melanie and Johnny Clark is most believable as the stolid nice-guy Chris. Kyle Johnston projects a diabolic and repulsive Bomb. His long speeches require a little more attention to diction.

The excellent VS Company doesn't get much help from Klier in his director's hat. No nuance of warmth or humor is teased from any character.

The fine set, showcasing Chris's CDs, is designed by John G. Williams The show's title comes from the first line of Shakespeare's 129th Sonnet: "The expense of spirit in a waste of shame is lust in action." Bomb seems more manic than ashamed and lust is not the animating theme of this play but paying attention to Shakespeare is a good idea. Better luck next time, VS!



WASTE OF SHAME
Playwright/Director: Ron Klier
Cast: Johnny Clark (Chris), Kyle Johnston (H-Bomb), Kimberly-Rose Wolter (Melanie)
Set Design: John G. Williams
Lighting Design: Derrick McDaniel
Fight Choreographer: Scott Ashby
Running Time: Two hours with one intermission
Running Dates: March 11-April 9, 2006
Where:.The Elephant Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Phone: (323) 860-3283
Reviewed by Laura Hitchcock on March 19.
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©Copyright 2006, Elyse Sommer.
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