LA WEEKLY REVIEW GO “Anatol” April 2, 2007

ANATOL A contemporary of Freud, a physician and inveterate womanizer, Austrian playwright and novelist Arthur Schnitzler wrote knowingly of the contrarieties of passion. His first play, Anatol, is about a narcissistic philanderer (Matt Letscher) who relays the details of his sexual adventures into the willing ears of his cynical and incredulous friend, Max (Alex Engberg). A chauvinist to his fingertips, Anatol expects women to exit gracefully when an affair ends, perceiving no inconsistency between his self-presumptive right to be unfaithful and his mania when his mistresses want the same. With delicious period costumes by Audrey Eisner and a sensuousness evoked by set and lighting designers (respectively, Laura Fine and Jeremy Pivnick), director Dan Bonnell’s savvy production coalesces around Letscher’s formidable performance in the title role. As a fatuous bore, he is both unfailingly believable and adroitly entertaining as he rummages the depths of his character’s bottomless ego. Cool and a bit unctuous, Engberg is right on target as his understated foil, while among a bevy of intriguing ladies are Ginna Carter as a vivacious actress who turns the tables on the flabbergasted Lothario at their “final dinner,” and Valerie Dillman as the wildly possessive playmate he entertains a bare two hours before his wedding. PACIFIC RESIDENT THEATRE, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru May 27. (310) 822-8392. (Deborah Klugman)

Pacific Resident Theater