The only real link between the 1969 jazz-fusion song by Frank Zappa and the Wily West Productions show now at StageWerx — both called “Peaches en Regalia” — is that the former is the favorite song of the playwright of the latter.
Recently produced in Oroville as a one-act, local author Steve Lyons has expanded his show to two acts, which made it perfect for Wily West’s mission to only produce plays by Bay Area writers.
The world-premiere comedy directed by Sara Staley opens with a nod to the Zappa tune before delving into the lives and neuroses of its characters through fourth-wall-breaking monologues.
Peaches (Sarah Moser) is a charming naif who doesn’t quite get why her horny college professor asked her out to dinner. What she does get is a life-changing revelation when she first encounters a cottage cheese, lettuce and prunus persica-filled dessert special at Doug’s Diner called Peaches en Regalia.
Moser expertly plays one of those sly blondes whose seemingly disjointed logic winds up making perfect sense if you stick with her. Her monologue delivery evokes a young Lily Tomlin searching for signs of her own intelligent life in the universe.
She is intentionally mismatched with Norman (Philip Goleman), a nebbishy poster child for social anxiety disorder who clings to the bathroom “circle of trust,” among other constructs, to keep order.
Goleman’s nail-biting angst, low self-esteem and nerdy earnestness hit the right notes in Act 1, becoming just a little strident later.
Norman looks to be well-partnered with Joanne (Nicole Hammersla), an angora-sweater-decimating OCD case who thinks life flows only by charts and she’s now up the creek and soon to be over the hill. Hammersla radiates a nervous energy that is scary-funny to watch as she picks herself into a comic cloud of bunny fur.
Into the diner steps Syd (Cooper Carlson), the handsome, mellow dude who throws off the seemingly predestined balance of the other three. Carlson is just the right blend of thoughtful, sensitive guy coupled with winking, heterosexual-male swagger. He also beautifully balances Syd’s Republican screed with a healthy dose of pragmatic realism.
Lyons has a gift for stream-of-consciousness monologue and all of the characters get to play their own great scene. The dialogue sections play well, but don’t have quite the same absurdist comic sparkle.
There is, however, a wonderfully written and staged “time lapse” sequence between Moser and Goleman in the second act that is priceless.
Where: StageWerx, 533 Sutter St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; closes Aug. 27
Contact: (415) 302-9182; www.wilywestproductions.com