Whore’s Bath

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The cast of “Whore’s Bath.” Top, from l: Caitlin Carleton, Amir Khalighi, and Helene Udy. Bottom, from l: Kevin Van Cott, Kirby Anderson, Denise Devin, Abel Horwitz, Monique Fronti, Cameron Munson, Willy Romano-Pugh, and Steve Alloway.

The cast of “Whore’s Bath.” Top, from l: Caitlin Carleton, Amir Khalighi, and Helene Udy. Bottom, from l: Kevin Van Cott, Kirby Anderson, Denise Devin, Abel Horwitz, Monique Fronti, Cameron Munson, Willy Romano-Pugh, and Steve Alloway.

The imagination of theater can transport us to many places. Music, lighting, and mood enhance the effect. A show need not be dependent on traditional structure, props, or any auditory or visual enhancement. What is required is premise and conflict. Whore’s Bath follows the interpretational route, and succeeds.

Its title refers to the quick clean up by a prostitute between clients. Our story is of the Biblical Saul and David, their rivalry, their views on rule, and how power corrupts and dissuades purpose. Saul (Amir Khalighi) understands authority and how to wield it. His throne is strongly paternal, pious, and concentrated. However, David (Willy Romano-Pugh) represents something that is sexual, fluid, feminine. They are unable to compromise.

Consider it to be a dialogue in classic Greek tradition. There is a vibrant chorus that interacts with the leads, creating a greater sense of tension. Musician Kevin Van Cott is quite adept with the use of drums, synthesizer, and guitar to augment mood.

Director Zombie Joe has a penchant for choreography, as he delivers action and dance within the combines of a small stage with mesmerizing results. What holds it back is Robert Riemer’s script. Too much time is divided between pathos and camp sexual innuendo. Perhaps divulging on one particular aspect would give it greater clarity. Give the cast kudos; it takes a considerable amount of audacity to perform what some may consider sordid. It is highly effective however.

Whore’s Bath runs through Aug. 10 at ZJU Theatre Group located at 4850 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. For tickets call (818) 202-4120 or visit zombiejoes.com.

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