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7 at W. 70th, Little Fish Theatre

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Bert Pigg's nimble direction along with Elaine Osio's humorous premise makes Seven at W. 70th at the Little Fish Theatre a pleasant reminder, but surely you didn't forget, did you?, that the seven deadly sins are alive and well, at least in one posh New York City high-rise co-op. A lighthearted production, it makes you think that sinners, annoying as they may be, can't be that bad. You walk away agreeing with Billy Joel when he sang "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun."

The master of ceremonies is none other than the Prince of Darkness (Drew Fitzsimmons), a stylish and eloquent little fiend whose running narrative binds together seven sinful vignettes that occur in a single apartment building that is meant to serve as an urban Tower of Babel. Greed, Envy, Pride, Lust, Sloth, Gluttony, and Anger: they're all there. Osio splays them out for us to ponder, to laugh at, to see in ourselves and in those around us. There's no attempt to make this a morality play, a spur to atonement. What fun would that be?

It's Christmas time, which means, don't tip the doorman and janitor at your own peril. When some residents don't, well, they're victims of Greed. Throw together a Teacher and her student's Rich Mother, that's Envy. Bring together Two Competitive Parents on a playground, that Pride. Have a Swinging American Couple bring home a Swinging British Couple, that's Lust. Depict a Sluggish Young Woman and her Ambitious Alter Ego, that's Sloth. A Way Too Self-Indulgent Dinner Party? That's Gluttony. And an explosive confrontation that starts from nothing, that's Anger.

The result is a wildly funny look at how, one way or another, we're hardwired for peccadilloes. As depicted, these transgressions don't change history or crumble empires. No, the production shows the way sin ever so innocuously infiltrates our daily interactions without us being aware of them. Be it through an exchange on a playground, on the terrace of a high-rise, or at a dinner party, they happen every minute of every day. Even with Pigg's light-handed, Love, American Style direction, the production nonetheless does make us examine the things we do on autopilot, as we grind through our days. Whether we do anything about this intelligence well, that's another matter.

Fitzsimmons is a fine choice for the Devil. More of an emcee at a variety show than an agent provocateur, he takes obvious delight, if not pride, in showcasing the havoc he wrecks in the minutiae our daily lives. He's not so much sinister as he is smug and smarmy, all the better to follow him on his excursion into the dark, or at least gray side of our souls. Barbara Suiter, Kimberly Patterson, Christopher Salazar and, as opening night stand-in for Michael Mullen, Bert Pigg deliver a versatile ensemble effort that reminds us that, comedy wise, to err may be human, to sin, well, that's divine.

Performances are 8PM, Wednesday and Thursday. The show runs until October 28. Tickets are $15. The Theatre is located at 777 Centre Street, San Pedro. For more information call (310) 512-6030 or visit www.littlefishtheatre.org.
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