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Live Active Cultures

Bad date theater! These shows may spark more heated conversation than snuggles

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Director Rowan Bousaid's cast brings unexpected life to these underwritten characters: Walker-Branchaud lights up the stage with Belushi-esque roughness, and Miller's magnetism makes Tom's attraction totally understandable. If the production has a flaw, it's that Miller is more "voluptuously statuesque" than "morbidly obese," making Tom's peers' disgust seem absurd. Fat Pig won't spur snuggles after, but it may spark conversation.

In the Wings presents The Graduate at Rocking Horse Theater Factory

This brand-new co-op stage, carved out of a warehouse near the Citrus Bowl, has opened its doors with a stage adaptation of the The Graduate. Benjamin Braddock (Tyler Conrady) was BMOC in 1967, but now he's an emotionally adrift postgrad, ripe for seduction by his adulterous, alcoholic neighbor, Mrs. Robinson (Rochelle Curbow-Wheeler), while his parents (Matt Stevens, Peri Hope Dunefsky-Goldberg) pressure him into dating Mrs. Robinson's daughter, Elaine (Lorelei Sandberg).

The film is a classic, but Terry Johnson's script is a mess. Memorable lines, like the oft-quoted "Plastics," are awkwardly repositioned; new dialogue generates confusion; and the movie's enigmatic ending is replaced with endless talking.

Director Josh Eads-Brown compensates with goofy gags such as a spinning bed, lending a cartoonish air. Conrady's narcissistic schlub makes Dustin Hoffman seem dashing, and Curbow-Wheeler is less icy Anne Bancroft than Scarlett O'Hara-meets-Jessica Rabbit. Though this crew gives their all for a ridiculously reasonable $5 ticket, the best I can say is that they rekindled my love of Simon & Garfunkel's soundtrack.

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