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Theater Review: 'Wolves' At Celebration Theatre

Katie Buenneke |
March 12, 2013 | 12:53 a.m. PDT

Theater Editor

Katherine Skelton's narrator watches over the events of "Wolves" with jarring omniscience. Photo by Matthew Brian Denman.
Katherine Skelton's narrator watches over the events of "Wolves" with jarring omniscience. Photo by Matthew Brian Denman.
Take the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood and then use an axe to mangle it until it is barely recognizable, and the result is "Wolves," playing at Celebration Theatre in West Hollywood through May 5.

Playwright Steve Yockey has written a very twisted take on the familiar fairy tale. Ben (Nathan Mohebbi) has just moved from a small town to a big city, but hasn't handled the transition well, as his personal narrator (Katherine Skelton) tells the audience. He's currently sharing a tiny apartment with his ex-boyfriend, Jack (Matt Magnusson), who is determined to go to the local bar and bring home a Wolf (Andrew Crabtree), just to spite Ben. Unsurprisingly, things quickly take a turn for the gruesome.

From the start of the play, it becomes clear fairly quickly that Ben is not a very stable individual, and it becomes perversely delightful to watch him become more and more unhinged as the story accelerates towards its unhappy ending. Skelton's good comedic timing makes the narrator likable, in spite of her overwhelmingly controlling tendencies, and the shifts in the power dynamic between the narrator and Ben is one of the play's best propellants.

"Wolves" is a new work, appearing in its rolling world premiere, and while it is a good play, it could still use some refinement—at times, the dialogue becomes overly repetitive and loses the audience's attention, but they are quickly brought back into the show by the intriguing circumstances Yockey has set up for his characters.

Director Michael Matthews brings the play to life effectively, creating a very real world for the characters to inhabit. Cricket S. Myers' sound design is particularly strong, blending in seamlessly with the physical world of the theater and the world of the play.

"Wolves," as the narrator proudly states, is not a story with a happy ending, or a story with a strong moral compass. But as a sick and twisted take on one of the Grimm Brothers' already-grim fairy tales, the play is quite fun to watch, in a perverse way. As the play sucks the audience into its off-kilter world and then spits them out, still reeling, it becomes clear that this was a whirlwind trip well worth taking.

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"Wolves" is playing at Celebration Theatre (7051B Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA) through May 5. Tickets are $30. More information can be found at CelebrationTheatre.com.



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