Handjob

Critics

LemonMeter

79 %

Reviews: 21

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

When a gay writer hires a man to work as a “shirtless cleaner,” homophobia, racism and issues of consent bubble to the surface. This outrageous comedy will leave you gasping with shock and laughter as it explores the deepest sensitivities in our culture — with hilarious consequences. (The hilarity is recommended for mature audiences: graphic adult content including male nudity). Sept. 7 through Oct. 21: Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m., and Mondays at 8 p.m.; The Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90039; Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays: $34; Monday night performances are $20 in advance, and Pay-What-You-Want at the door (subject to availability); 310-307-3753; www.EchoTheaterCompany.com

Reviews

Avatar

Although I'm tempted to be more specific about what happens, the surprises are integral to this theatrical adventure, as we watch the characters try to navigate through contemporary cultural currents, creating plenty of rich, ironic comedy in the process. Chris Fields directs a fine-tuned cast (including the understudy I saw in one of the major roles).

sweet - Don Shirley - LA Observed - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Fields seems at his best when presented with a work that is devised less along the dictates of Aristotle’s dramatic unities, and more like a theatrical Rubik’s cube. His staging is solid, top to bottom, and his cast inhabit the caliber that has made the Echo Theater Company one of L.A.’s most respected theatrical bodies.

sweet - Ernest Kearney- The TVolution - ...read full review


Avatar

The plays had the vitality of a rebellious teenager proudly proclaiming their own voice. “Handjob” is different. You can feel the writer maturing. He cares what we think and he’s going to complicate it.

If you know Mr. Patterson’s work, that’s exciting. If you don’t “Handjob” is a great way to start.

sweet - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Avatar

Although the play was liberally charged, it felt nothing like liberal propaganda often portrayed in theater and film in an effort to be “woke.” It felt honest and unresolved, allowing the audience to really examine their own values.

Patterson’s dialogue was clever and pointed, which allowed for a raw depiction of character development throughout a ragged but thrilling plot arc.

sweet - Ginger Gordon - USC Annenberg Media - ...read full review


Mike Reyes - Mike Check

HandJob delivers a hard look at the human condition, coupled with extremely talented acting and some of the best writing you will see on-stage it is certainly worth checking out. Although it may not be the happy ending you are hoping for.

sweet - Mike Reyes - Mike Check - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Chris Fields has done an exceptional job helping his actors tackle some very dangerous subject matter...

Ryan Nealy and Stephen Guarino are an incredible duo who are able to deliver two vastly different yet still compelling characters. Their saga steals the show which is not a bad thing, it exposes and deepens the conversation that needs to be had. So observe carefully and discuss intensely but ultimately sit back relax and enjoy “Handjob”.

sweet - Todd Gaebe - Hollywood Revealed - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer

I first encountered playwright Erik Patterson with a production of Yellow Flesh/Alabaster Rose and immediately felt a kinship with his black comic sensibility and his sensitivity in crafting the wounded characters who populated that play. Over the years his plots have become more concise and focused, losing the sprawl of those youthful shows. But he has remained a fierce provocateur and his new play, Handjob continues his tradition of pushing the conventional dramatic envelope.

sweet-sour - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar

While Erik Patterson’s new play, performed the other afternoon at the Echo Theater Company’s venue at Atwater Village Theater in Los Angeles, is not precisely a major theatrical masterwork, it is, nonetheless certainly an intriguing work, which will allow you to leave the theater with a great many questions about gay sex, sexual exploitation, sexual abusiveness, racial identity, and the white community’s inability to perceive racial concerns—as well as what writer’s do to individuals in involving them into their literary “plots.” There’s lots to chew on here, and lots of issues that simply cannot be answered by either the author or his audience.

sweet - Douglas Messerli - US Theater - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

The Echo Theater Company presents a stunning world premiere of Erik Patterson's HANDJOB. Echo Theatre's artistic director Chris Fields quite ably directs his talented cast, as two sets of actors alternately depict the scenario of a curious, middle-aged gay man hiring a shirtless housekeeper/cleaner for a session of cleaning, leering and lusting. Patterson's very witty and smart script of clever puns and sharp observations gets even more witty and even smarter after a big reveal, that I won't be spoiling.

sweet - Gil Kaan - Broadway World - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder

Halfway into the play, the title proves playable in a most boldly graphic way, but what could be seen in most other situations as gratuitous, here it is absolutely the opposite. Shocking the heck outta us is exactly what the always-outrageous Erik Patterson wants to accomplish. As Keith (Steven Culp), the playwright’s onstage counterpart, says soon after that little transaction goes south and the characters discuss its impact, “I need to make people uncomfortable. People need to leave this theatre and have this very conversation.” Mission accomplished.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Avatar

In the end, this play just doesn’t work. It lacks stakes; it lacks clarity, specificity, wants, needs, catharsis and plausibility.

sour - Patrick Hurley - That Awesome Theatre Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

the show plunges into enough hot-button social issues to fuel a week’s worth of TV news round tables: consent, harassment, privilege, visibility, racial and sexual stereotyping, and more. In all of this, the show ably succeeds, supported by terrific acting, directing (by the Echo’s artistic director, Chris Fields) and production elements.

sweet - Daryl H. Miller - LA Times - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

This show is not to be pigeonholed as a “Gay play.” It is so much more than that.

The ensemble, under the scintillating direction of Chris Fields, is…oh, where is le mot juste? Formidable! Magnifique!...

Handjob is without doubt one of the most electrifying shows currently in production in Southern California. Don’t miss it.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

Echo Theater's artistic director Chris Fields who directs Erik Patterson's World Premiere production of HANDJOB was seated in front of me during the opening night of one of the most brilliant pieces of theatre I have ever seen. Cognitive Dissonance notwithstanding...

This is an adult program. Period. The issues discussed are hot button issues. The ethics, philosophy and cultural challenges of HANDJOB are complex.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

Patterson’s play is smart and very funny, and if its reach slightly exceeds its grasp, it’s no matter. The world premiere production by the Echo Theater Company is expertly acted and directed and genuinely thought-provoking in the best way. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Terry Morgan - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

The real challenge of the play is keeping your mind open to explore many of the deepest sensitivities in our culture, not only via sexual orientation and content but by race, religion, family upbringing and the general influence of the media to shape the way we look and feel about each other. Kudos to the entire cast and director Chris Fields for their dedication to presenting Erik Patterson’s HANDJOB with the respect and honesty needed to bring this challenging production to the stage.

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Theatre Of NOTE’s He Asked For It and Echo Theater Company’s One Of The Nice Ones demonstrated Erik Patterson’s knack for delivering “I didn’t see that coming” twists and Handjob is no exception. If only I could have bought into all those twists this time round.

sweet-sour - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Erin Conley

Ultimately, Handjob wants to start a conversation, but does not take any real stand as a piece of writing, which is unfortunate because under different circumstances—including, perhaps, being produced by a different theater company—it would be a conversation very much worth having.

sweet-sour - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

Homophobia, racism, issues of consent, #MeToo, gun violence, conservative politics of the GOP all get trotted out in the resultant lengthy political diatribe. The play meanders around aimlessly for the final third of its 100 intermission-less minutes.

sour - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Patrick Chavis

Handjob has living breathing talking points with dialogue instead of characters that come off in anyway as authentic.

sour - Patrick Chavis - LA Theatre Bites - ...read full review


Dan Berkowitz

But who needs “perfect”? "Handjob" is so imaginative and funny and outrageous and startling that I’ll take it, warts and all. So should you.

sweet - Dan Berkowitz - The Los Angeles Post - ...read full review


Avatar

Although I'm tempted to be more specific about what happens, the surprises are integral to this theatrical adventure, as we watch the characters try to navigate through contemporary cultural currents, creating plenty of rich, ironic comedy in the process. Chris Fields directs a fine-tuned cast (including the understudy I saw in one of the major roles).

sweet - Don Shirley - LA Observed - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Fields seems at his best when presented with a work that is devised less along the dictates of Aristotle’s dramatic unities, and more like a theatrical Rubik’s cube. His staging is solid, top to bottom, and his cast inhabit the caliber that has made the Echo Theater Company one of L.A.’s most respected theatrical bodies.

sweet - Ernest Kearney- The TVolution - ...read full review


Avatar

The plays had the vitality of a rebellious teenager proudly proclaiming their own voice. “Handjob” is different. You can feel the writer maturing. He cares what we think and he’s going to complicate it.

If you know Mr. Patterson’s work, that’s exciting. If you don’t “Handjob” is a great way to start.

sweet - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Avatar

Although the play was liberally charged, it felt nothing like liberal propaganda often portrayed in theater and film in an effort to be “woke.” It felt honest and unresolved, allowing the audience to really examine their own values.

Patterson’s dialogue was clever and pointed, which allowed for a raw depiction of character development throughout a ragged but thrilling plot arc.

sweet - Ginger Gordon - USC Annenberg Media - ...read full review


Mike Reyes - Mike Check

HandJob delivers a hard look at the human condition, coupled with extremely talented acting and some of the best writing you will see on-stage it is certainly worth checking out. Although it may not be the happy ending you are hoping for.

sweet - Mike Reyes - Mike Check - ...read full review


Avatar

Director Chris Fields has done an exceptional job helping his actors tackle some very dangerous subject matter...

Ryan Nealy and Stephen Guarino are an incredible duo who are able to deliver two vastly different yet still compelling characters. Their saga steals the show which is not a bad thing, it exposes and deepens the conversation that needs to be had. So observe carefully and discuss intensely but ultimately sit back relax and enjoy “Handjob”.

sweet - Todd Gaebe - Hollywood Revealed - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer

I first encountered playwright Erik Patterson with a production of Yellow Flesh/Alabaster Rose and immediately felt a kinship with his black comic sensibility and his sensitivity in crafting the wounded characters who populated that play. Over the years his plots have become more concise and focused, losing the sprawl of those youthful shows. But he has remained a fierce provocateur and his new play, Handjob continues his tradition of pushing the conventional dramatic envelope.

sweet-sour - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar

While Erik Patterson’s new play, performed the other afternoon at the Echo Theater Company’s venue at Atwater Village Theater in Los Angeles, is not precisely a major theatrical masterwork, it is, nonetheless certainly an intriguing work, which will allow you to leave the theater with a great many questions about gay sex, sexual exploitation, sexual abusiveness, racial identity, and the white community’s inability to perceive racial concerns—as well as what writer’s do to individuals in involving them into their literary “plots.” There’s lots to chew on here, and lots of issues that simply cannot be answered by either the author or his audience.

sweet - Douglas Messerli - US Theater - ...read full review


Gil Kaan

The Echo Theater Company presents a stunning world premiere of Erik Patterson's HANDJOB. Echo Theatre's artistic director Chris Fields quite ably directs his talented cast, as two sets of actors alternately depict the scenario of a curious, middle-aged gay man hiring a shirtless housekeeper/cleaner for a session of cleaning, leering and lusting. Patterson's very witty and smart script of clever puns and sharp observations gets even more witty and even smarter after a big reveal, that I won't be spoiling.

sweet - Gil Kaan - Broadway World - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder

Halfway into the play, the title proves playable in a most boldly graphic way, but what could be seen in most other situations as gratuitous, here it is absolutely the opposite. Shocking the heck outta us is exactly what the always-outrageous Erik Patterson wants to accomplish. As Keith (Steven Culp), the playwright’s onstage counterpart, says soon after that little transaction goes south and the characters discuss its impact, “I need to make people uncomfortable. People need to leave this theatre and have this very conversation.” Mission accomplished.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Avatar

In the end, this play just doesn’t work. It lacks stakes; it lacks clarity, specificity, wants, needs, catharsis and plausibility.

sour - Patrick Hurley - That Awesome Theatre Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

the show plunges into enough hot-button social issues to fuel a week’s worth of TV news round tables: consent, harassment, privilege, visibility, racial and sexual stereotyping, and more. In all of this, the show ably succeeds, supported by terrific acting, directing (by the Echo’s artistic director, Chris Fields) and production elements.

sweet - Daryl H. Miller - LA Times - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

This show is not to be pigeonholed as a “Gay play.” It is so much more than that.

The ensemble, under the scintillating direction of Chris Fields, is…oh, where is le mot juste? Formidable! Magnifique!...

Handjob is without doubt one of the most electrifying shows currently in production in Southern California. Don’t miss it.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

Echo Theater's artistic director Chris Fields who directs Erik Patterson's World Premiere production of HANDJOB was seated in front of me during the opening night of one of the most brilliant pieces of theatre I have ever seen. Cognitive Dissonance notwithstanding...

This is an adult program. Period. The issues discussed are hot button issues. The ethics, philosophy and cultural challenges of HANDJOB are complex.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

Patterson’s play is smart and very funny, and if its reach slightly exceeds its grasp, it’s no matter. The world premiere production by the Echo Theater Company is expertly acted and directed and genuinely thought-provoking in the best way. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Terry Morgan - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

The real challenge of the play is keeping your mind open to explore many of the deepest sensitivities in our culture, not only via sexual orientation and content but by race, religion, family upbringing and the general influence of the media to shape the way we look and feel about each other. Kudos to the entire cast and director Chris Fields for their dedication to presenting Erik Patterson’s HANDJOB with the respect and honesty needed to bring this challenging production to the stage.

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Theatre Of NOTE’s He Asked For It and Echo Theater Company’s One Of The Nice Ones demonstrated Erik Patterson’s knack for delivering “I didn’t see that coming” twists and Handjob is no exception. If only I could have bought into all those twists this time round.

sweet-sour - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Erin Conley

Ultimately, Handjob wants to start a conversation, but does not take any real stand as a piece of writing, which is unfortunate because under different circumstances—including, perhaps, being produced by a different theater company—it would be a conversation very much worth having.

sweet-sour - Erin Conley - On Stage & Screen - ...read full review


Rob Stevens

Homophobia, racism, issues of consent, #MeToo, gun violence, conservative politics of the GOP all get trotted out in the resultant lengthy political diatribe. The play meanders around aimlessly for the final third of its 100 intermission-less minutes.

sour - Rob Stevens - Haines His Way - ...read full review


Patrick Chavis

Handjob has living breathing talking points with dialogue instead of characters that come off in anyway as authentic.

sour - Patrick Chavis - LA Theatre Bites - ...read full review


Dan Berkowitz

But who needs “perfect”? "Handjob" is so imaginative and funny and outrageous and startling that I’ll take it, warts and all. So should you.

sweet - Dan Berkowitz - The Los Angeles Post - ...read full review