by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

The following review originally appeared in LA Theatre Review

“I will make you a puppet.”

The Devil wears a red jacket and pumps and she’s here to ’empty you’ in a boot camp for wanna-be actresses where Fate decides everything.  Or does it?

All the way from the UK to give a little bit of love to their American cousins is the Mahalo Theatre Collective in, The Audition, a play by James Johnson, pulling out all the stops in this deliciously sadistic and deceivingly un-superficial dark comedy that will burn you in every way.

As a re-write of Ophelia and her decent into madness, two women, a director and an actress, play a masochistic psychological and physical game of Russian roulette, taking turn as to who is really in control.  It becomes clear that as Lauren (Julia Scott-Russell) loses herself to sexual seduction and exposure, drugs, despair, lies, rejection, mind-altering torture, madness, and her own self-identity entirely – emptied of any emotional life (according to her subjugator), ready to be filled with any character, that director Stella (Ellie Coyler Alasquez) not only enjoys the rush, but vampirically uses her to fill her own emptiness.  Stella pushes her victims far beyond the edge, convincing them that these are the stakes for your 15 minutes of fame.

And you though YOUR audition was tough!

Outstanding performances by both actresses.

Abridged and directed by Kate Muir.

Playing at Artworks Theatre & Studios.