A Devil Inside

Rated 4.0 This dark, satiric comedy involves an unlikely combination of elements: multiple severed feet, a son trying to avenge his father’s murder, laundromats and Russian literature. The plot is booby-trapped with so many bizarre, overlapping coincidences and freakish story turns that if you stacked all the unlikely elements in the story, they’d be taller than a high-rise building.Director Gabriel Montoya puts a surprising amount of razzle-dazzle into this ambitious low-budget production, which features good performances by several young actors trained by the Actor’s Workshop. Gene (played by Galen Howard with an intense glare) tries to figure out who killed his 400-pound dad while he was hiking through the Poconos. Stephanie Altholz is both funny and edgy as Caitlin, a girl with an unhealthy fascination for her middle-aged Russian-lit professor. The professor, played by Sean Williams, is gloriously morose as he drinks Stolichnaya in a bar and scribbles in his diary. Michael Claudio does a very interesting transformation as Brad, starting out as a clean-cut, genial appliance-repair man and gradually turning into a maniac. Charise Sullivan plays the mysterious Lily, whose bad luck drags down everyone around her.

This show abounds in brittle humor on the dark side. The production could be smoother in technical terms, but the acting’s better than most community efforts. And the script by David Lindsay-Abaire (who also wrote Fuddy Meers, done by the B Street Theatre a few years back) is beguilingly strange.A Devil Inside; at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. The Actor’s Theatre, 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through December 14.