Review: Inversion at the Ooley Theatre

Showtimes: Thu 8pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm. Through 11/17; $17-$20; EMH Productions at the Ooley Theatre, 2007 28th Street; (916) 214-6255;
Rated 3.0

Aditya Putcha’s Inversion is an ambitious examination of contemporary dating games, the dynamics of male-female relationships and the difficulty of dealing with a parent sliding into Alzheimer’s.

It’s earnest and well-intentioned—but good intentions are not enough. It’s wordy and a bit unfocused at times. However, the play is Putcha’s first full-length theater piece and suggests better things to come.

Adam (Brenden Garcia) is a socially awkward young man who really wants to find a hot woman like those his friend Brendan (Nick McCollum) continually finds and discards. To add to Adam’s problems, his mother’s Alzheimer’s disease threatens to erase him from her memory before he can find a girl to take home to momma.

These two male characters are more fully developed and satisfactorily presented than any of the three female characters—Jennifer (Monica Vejar as Adam’s mother), Rhonda (Joanna Johnson as a zaftig young woman whose poor self-image causes desperation in a budding relationship) and Natalia (Tatyana Kireyeva, in essence a female Brendan, but less likable).

A very cool set design by director Elise Hodge and effective lighting (by Matthew Timoszyk) make the production pleasing to the eye.