With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Burbank’s Falcon Theatre currently offers “The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity,” a witty treatise on the balance between love and sexuality.
The show’s author and star, Annie Hendy, pulls off a seemingly impossible task in this 90-minute, one-act play that has earned her an armful of awards nationwide.
Hendy’s portrayal of Lizzy, a Midwestern devout Catholic living in New York desperate to lose her virginal status before the age of 25, remains surprisingly sympathetic throughout the piece.
Given the subject matter, this character could quickly have worn out her welcome, and yet Hendy’s ability to establish an emotional rapport with her audience was overwhelmingly charming.
It’s obvious that Lizzy is searching for a much deeper psychological answer than merely hopping in the sack with the first available man.
If not, she certainly could have her pick from the literally dozens of characters portrayed by fellow cast member Cyrus Alexander.
Displaying a phenomenal agility in navigating designer Terri A. Lewis’ costuming quick-changes, Alexander appears as a priest, Lizzy’s best friends (both male and female), a whole host of romantic near-misses and even a 78-year-old nun!
But nothing tops his onstage, tornado-like parade of characters during a section where Lizzy tries her hand at “speed dating.”
With blinding swiftness and an upstage rolling rack of costumes and accessories, Alexander flips effortlessly through a quintet of personas that includes a rope-twirling cowboy, a male cheerleader and an insecure man with a fetish for ladies’ footwear.
Throughout it all, Hendy does a remarkable job in retaining an almost “deer in the headlights” deadpan delivery as she confides in the audience with comments and observations.
Director Gregg W. Brevoort is due a large amount of credit for crafting this production for the Falcon’s intimate space.
Utilizing the obvious talents of lighting designer Nick McCord and sound designer Robert Arturo Ramirez, Brevoort keeps the momentum of the piece driving ever forward.
Keith Mitchell’s spacious set design of faux brick walls and large open playing spaces aids actor Alexander, who seems to pop out from every available nook and cranny.
Anna McGill has provided an endless array of props including a vending machine, which plays a particularly important part in one of Lizzy’s failed romantic trysts.
Tying all of this together is stage manager Dale Alan Cooke, who certainly has his hands full calling literally hundreds of technical cues without so much as a single noticeable mistake.
And as Lizzy’s search for personal discovery wraps up, it’s reassuring to note that although she may not have accomplished the play’s title goal, her future is definitely more promising and positive.
Dink O’Neal, an actor and member of the American Theatre Critics Assn., resides in Burbank.
What: “The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity”
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday until March 6.
Where: The Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank.
Tickets: $27 to $42.
Contact: (818) 955-8101 or visit www.FalconTheatre.com