An erotic casual encounter through Craigslist takes on cosmic repercussions in “Boom,” playwright-biologist Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s sensational twist on the bedroom farce that combines sci-fi, sarcastic remarks and philosophical musings on fate and how life begins.
“Boom” starts out as one of the worst blind dates in history - and anybody who has been set up with someone who suddenly espouses another sexual preference will relate painfully. Jules (Kimberly Gilbert, who plays edgy, antsy women with great vulnerability and intelligence) through a personal ad promising “sex to change the course of the world.”
She’s thinking Kama Sutra,; he’s thinking global cataclysm. Not only are they not on the same page sexually, but Jules literally is talking about the end of human life as we know it - and he has picked Jo as the new Eve to his Adam.
Naturally, Jo’s response to the idea of being locked up for months on end with a gay man who wants to repopulate the planet is not enthusiastic. Her caustic reluctance leads to a hilarious disintegration in relations that results in a broken leg for Jules and a crack-up orchestrated with virtuoso neuroses by Mr. Deeker. He can play the high-strung and offbeat like no other, and his Jules is not merely an overeducated nutcase, but also a romantic hero in his almost perverse buoyancy.
This hysterically mismatched pair swap barbs and theoretical outlooks amid a clammily atmospheric subterranean-lab set by Sarah Marshall, adroitly relishing every quirk and quip of her mysterious, conflicted character) who exhibits a fond interest in the proceedings and also manipulates the action from time to time by pulling a Rube Goldbergesque assembly of levers and buttons.
“Boom” contains some of the brightest, most incisive dialogue heard in a long time. Among the gems are Jules’ goofy, look-on-the-bright-side suggestion that during their two- to four-year confinement until the cosmic dust settles, they can “finish a Thomas Pynchon novel.”
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company with mad-scientist intensity - keeping all the Bunsen burners cooking full blast and the proportions of kookiness and creepiness just right. “Boom” may not provide the big bang Jo signed up for, but its combustible mixture of smarts, sex and science-fiction “what ifs” makes for an apocalypse wow.
WHAT: “Boom,” by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
WHERE: Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D St. NW
WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Through Dec. 7.
TICKETS: $26 to $60
WEB SITE: www.woollymammoth.net
MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS