Two Wrongs

Actor-turned-playwright Scott Caan demonstrates a sweet streak.

With:
Shelly - Bre Blair Julian - Larry Clarke Terry - Val Lauren

Actor-turned-playwright Scott Caan demonstrates a sweet streak not often seen in his film roles with his new play, “Two Wrongs,” a merry trifle absorbingly staged at the Lounge II. Any young thesps would find this examination of neuroses’ role in relationship-building a pleasure to play, though it’d be important to cast a trio as charming and verbally facile as those rustled up here by helmer Missy Yager.

Sitcommy setup offers a therapist’s office “meet cute” between a moody bachelor (Val Lauren), who can’t figure out why he’s single, and a jumpy bachelorette (Bre Blair), who knows exactly why she’s single: because the men she meets are unspeakable (cf. her latest casualty, a guy with a glob of ranch dressing running from his mouth).

Their eager-beaver shrink (Larry Clarke) crosses the line to do a little matchmaking, as a result of which they all get into a mess of trouble, details withheld. It’s a measure of Caan’s talent that even when you see exactly where the story is going, you’re still held, wondering how on earth it’ll all work out.

These earnest urbanites, so insistent upon using language to convey exactly what they’re feeling, find language tying them up in knots: “I mean everyone has something wrong with them. Surely we know what it is. And if we don’t, then maybe we should. Am I making sense?” At times the dialogue meanders, almost pushing the banality envelope until a smart riposte awakens you: “So she’s crazy?” “I’m not saying that, but yes.”

The dour Lauren and portly Clarke lack conventional leading-man looks, but each possesses the sensitivity and determination we demand of those chosen to carry a story. And Blair, a dead ringer for the young Valerie Perrine, is simply darling, her combination of spunk and vulnerability guaranteed to make strong men melt.

Caan should keep writing. He’s got the gift.

Two Wrongs

Lounge II Theater, Los Angeles; 46 seats; $20 top

Production: A Mineral Theater Company presentation of a play in one act by Scott Caan. Directed by Missy Yager.

Creative: Sets, Jeff Robinson; lighting, Russell Boast; sound, Steve Altman; music supervisor, Jon Leahy; stage manager, Rebecca Schoenberger. Opened, reviewed April 30, 2010; runs through May 9. Running time: 1 HOUR, 15 MIN.

Cast: Shelly - Bre Blair Julian - Larry Clarke Terry - Val Lauren

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