Theater Review: “He Asked For It” cast gives stellar performances in new production at Macha Theatre
Writer Erik Patterson had emailed me about coming to see his play He Asked for It and before I had a chance to reply, I bumped into him at last weekend’s LA Pride Parade promoting the play along the parade route.
His dedication – plus the fact that the show starred the dreamy Andrew Keegan – convinced me to take in the play which opened June 12 at Macha Theatre in West Hollywood. This is such a wonderful theater – I had no idea. There’s not a bad seat in the house!
I was greeted by Erik before the show and he pointed out that in a previous post I had also credited him as the director! Nope. It is Neil H. Weiss who is directing Erik’s play and I must say, doing a terrific job of it. Also met producer Lisa Kenner before the start of the show which had a full house of more than 50 audience members gay and straight.
I hope a lot of young people see this well-written play about looking for love in LA because of its messages about unsafe sex and its consequences. But it’s not a lecture: it’s a story of love and forgiveness which unfolds in such local settings as The Abbey and Fubar, at the gym, and, of course, on laptops at home where various dates and hook-ups are arranged. And, if you’re into this kind of thing (ha!), the cast is absolutely gorgeous. Lots of skin too! There’s a scene that takes place in the backseat of a car that is a scream.
The set is no-frills and the production makes excellent use of simple props and lighting and sound. But none of this would matter if the acting was not so first-rate. It’s difficult to believe that this is Keegan’s first stage role because he is so powerful in the role of an HIV-positive man who insists on barebacking and ruins several lives along the way. His character comes to the forefront in the second act and Keegan is powerful in his final scenes.
But the real revelation is Joe Egender as Ted, the young, naive kid from the Midwest rejected by his parents who comes to LA to try and be a star. Egender dominates the first act in what really is a tour de force. He changes clothes onstage so many times for so many different situations that you are amazed how he is able to jump right into any scene whether it be a first date with Keegan’s character, an encounter at the gym with a real player (Carter MacIntyre) or in some terrific comic scenes with his closeted agent (a hilarious and perfectly-cast Brian Unger).
But Egender is at his best in his scenes with the love of his life (Jeremy Glazer) who breaks his heart and with his loyal (and very foul-mouthed) sister back home who is played wonderfully by Sarah Foret. Her repeated use of the word “fuck” in one of their phone calls is a comedy highlight.
While there are laughs, there are also tears because the consequences of the actions of some of these characters is deadly.
The play runs through July 19 and I strongly recommend you put it on your list of things to do. For more information on tickets and dates, click HERE.