The Mammals are back with their usual twisted fare, setting their xenophobic, phantasmagoric fable in the desert west. A VA hospital nurse (Don Hall) dies and leaves her daughter (Erin Elizabeth Orr) to take care of lecherous veterans commanded by the cantankerous Colonel (Matt Kahler). When a wounded man arrives at the compound, the girl is drawn into a mythical world of passion and danger.
Writer/director Bob Fisher’s narrative is overlong and needs pruning, but his well-drawn characters are worth the wait. One wonders why he cast the eminently enjoyable and obviously male Hall in the strongest female role; drag doesn’t add to the character or story. But Orr brings enough pluck to stare down any testosterone imbalance. Kahler’s pomp spins out into fun menace. Adam Dodds, Vincent Lacey, Shane Michael Murphy and Sean Ewert are deliciously decrepit as the inhabitants of John Ross Wilson’s ghostly VA, moldering in their prejudice. (Lisa Buscani)
“Seven Snakes,” The Mammals at Zoo Studio, 4001 North Ravenswood, (866)593-4614, through November 6.