With a title as cutesy yet unwieldy as Fluffy Bunnies In A Field Of Daisies, you’d hardly expect Matt Chaffee’s 2002 two-acter to be a delightful, smart, cleverly written, occasionally raunchy but more often than not mush-hearted comedic gem, let alone one that ran off-and-on for an amazing two or three years in its initial Los Angeles run. Still, this is precisely what Fluffy Daisies is, as audiences can once again discover in its 10 Year Anniversary Revival at Hollywood’s Arena Stage Theatre.

Nick, Tommy, Baby Boy (né Christopher), and Jennifer (aka Re) are four friends on the cusp of thirty who spend much of their time at a local watering hole reliving, discussing, and offering each other advice about their latest romantic exploits.

Clueless but well-meaning Nick (Matthew Hannon) seems more than willing to commit, yet send him on a date with someone like sex-crazed Tessa (Cynthia Murell) and he’d rather prattle on about his recurring “lamp dream” than simply enjoy the boom-boom, even if it does involve Tessa’s screaming out someone else’s name mid-coitus.

Sweet, innocent Baby Boy (Stephen Pollak), too, seems incapable of not overcomplicating a relationship, even as he wonders ad infinitum why things can’t just be as pure and simple as Fluffy Bunnies In A Field Of Daisies. Ready to cut his losses and run whenever a new date’s “past” surfaces, Baby Boy inevitably ends up running to Tommy for advice.

Jersey Shoresesque Tommy (Joey Russo) is more than willing to lecture Baby Boy on the ins and outs of the opposite sex, explaining to his callow young protégé that they come in two categories, virgins or whores (or in Gilligan’s Island terms, Mary Anns or Gingers). Still, despite his macho braggadocio, Tommy appears to be the only one of the three male buddies who doesn’t date, preferring instead sexually-charged banter with waitress Jennifer (Lyndsey Lantz), whose surprise assertion that she’s a Mary Ann sets Tommy off on a phone search for the truth. (Clearly the two are MFEO, though they may be the last two in the universe to catch on to what’s obvious to everyone else.)

Also introduced into the mix are Yvonne (Karolin Luna), whose 180-degree turn from Ginger on her first date with Baby Boy to Mary Ann on their second leaves the naïve BB baffled; Allison (Amy Sanders), whose brash come-on to Baby Boy seems at odds with her self-proclaimed virginity; and Lyndsay (Bobbi Berkman), the gorgeous antiques dealer whose bidding Nick is more than willing to do—at least until he learns that she just might be a Ginger-for-hire.

With ten year’s experience under his belt, it’s no wonder writer-director Chaffee (who also played Tommy in the show’s original run) knows exactly how to coax one pitch-perfect performance after another from his talented, attractive, comedically adept ensemble of eight. (That each role has been double-cast is testimony to just how much sitcom-lead-ready talent there is in our town.)

As for Chaffee’s ingeniously constructed script, Fluffy Bunnies In A Field Of Daisies zips forward at a break-neck pace, often having Nick and Baby Boy simultaneously living their latest date and reliving it with Tommy and Jennifer at their local hangout, where Jennifer serves the drinks and Baby Boy more often than not ends up with the tab.

As for its production design, Fluffy Bunnies In A Field Of Daisies would appear to hold the distinction of being the very first production in StageSceneLA’s nearly five-year, nearly 1300-review history to have designed itself. No one receives program credit for the show’s bunnies-and-daisies scenic design, or for its lighting, sound, or costume designs. (For the record, all four do the trick regardless of who was in charge, though not at the level of what you’ll find in higher-end L.A. intimate theater productions.)

Fluffy Daisies appears also to be stage manager-free, though producer Drew Brody does at least get a program credit and bio as does marketing-publicity whiz David Elzer.

Ultimately, Fluffy Bunnies In A Field Of Daisies proves so darned entertaining and its cast so darned appealing that regardless of who had a hand behind the scenes other than the undoubtedly ubiquitous Chaffee matters not a whit. Every bit as fluffy as those titular bunnies and as much fun as a barrel of not-so-fluffy you-know-whats, Fluffy Bunnies In A Field Of Daisies will likely tickle your funny bone every bit as much as it did mine.

Arena Stage at Theatre of Arts, 1625 N Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood.

–Steven Stanley
June 28, 2012

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