THEATER REVIEWS
‘Bukowsical!’ is seeking support

In the hilarious opening number of “Bukowsical!” running at Sacred Fools, information pills we are informed, “there’s a little Bukowski in all of you too.” That sounds about right. Actor Steven Memel, playing, why, Steven Memel, welcomes us to “the Sacred Angel Fist Circle of Note Gang Theatre Company’s final backer’s audition,” and take-no-prisoners pandemonium ensues.

That is the intention. Although Spencer Green and Gary Stockdale’s witty late-night goof certainly riffs on the scabrous poet, what they, director-choreographer Dean Cameron and the players really skewer are fringe festival musicals and, by default, the Broadway conventions that various outstanding entries in the field have fruitfully satirized.

Thus, Buk (David Lawrence) finds himself the bemused center of a series of delirious numbers that follow key scenes of Bukowskiana in winking, Busby Berkeley-on-acid fashion. Highlights include “Chaser of My Heart,” a duet between our hero and his True Love (Fleur Phillips), the randy “Road Song” and a “Hollywood Trio” for Barbet Schroeder (Michael Lanahan), Sean Penn (Ian R. Gould) and Mickey Rourke (Matthew Garland). The cast is completed by Kathi Copeland and Christina Byron, with Byron’s Sweet Lady Booze get-up one of costume designer Ruth Silveira’s brightest ideas.

Everyone’s gonzo abandon and the eclectic bounce of Stockdale’s music and his and Green’s lyrics almost disguise that “Bukowsical!” is not yet a full-fledged show. To achieve the rank of such predecessors as “Urinetown” and “Blake … da Musical!” the dualistic concept of backer’s audition against improbable subject, and the score’s response to same, needs fleshing out. Yet it’s still an uproarious romp.

“Bukowsical!” Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Hollywood. 11 p.m. Fridays. May 26. No shows April 7, May 5. Ends May 26. Adult audiences. $10. (310) 281-8337 or www.SacredFools.org. Running time: 1 hour.

David C. Nichols