Edge-of-your-seat black comedy at Zombie Joe’s Underground

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The inaugural production from Theatre Slanty, “Sprung, A Love Story,” opened with a literal bang on July 17 at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre. The on-stage explosion emitted from a makeshift meth lab of sorts set up in the home of the play’s two central characters, Sam (Tony Marsiglia) and Tracy (Donna Kane). Dramatic explosions continued throughout the show, a tale of two drug manufacturers holed up in their apartment, fast approaching the end of their wits. The play is a bizarre thriller set in a dank underground world, but humor is its driving dramatic force.


"Sprung, A Love Story" is a bizarre thriller set in a dark underground world, but humor is its driving dramatic force.

As Sam tries to keep his profitable albeit illegal business going, Tracy begs him to stop the madness and get on the straight and narrow path. We see Sam moving closer to this goal as he rehearses for a job interview at the outset. But Sam’s half-hearted attempts to build a normal life are continually interrupted by a range of out-of-control, drop-by guests, including kids trying to score, his insane ex-wife, a machete-wielding maniac and the police.

An hour-long show, “Sprung” is full of sexual suggestiveness, violent outbursts, murder and mayhem. Stars Marsiglia and Kane also co-wrote the show, going for dark comedy that relies on a linkage of edge-of-your seat stirring moments. They succeed in both the shock department and the comedy realm – you can’t help but laugh at the over-the-top violence happening all around the ironically hapless drug dealer. Watching Marsiglia’s nebbish Sam peddle junk is like watching Mr. Magoo attempt athletics.

Tom Wilde has a small part that is as frightening as it is funny, and the actor mines his inner menace to great effect. As one of the many semi-ghoulish houseguests to the drug den, Wilde’s character is out for a fix at any violent cost.

Though not for the weak-stomached, “Sprung” is a thrilling and funny glimpse into a life lived chaotically.

Through August 1 at ZJU, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood. Call (818)471-9329.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.