Daniel Sosa-Porter and Andrea Acuna in "Spike Heels." Photo courtesy of Onstage Playhouse
Everyone in Theresa Rebeck’s Spike Heels seems to have a foot fetish. Or at least a shoe fetish. But there’s really nothing kinky about this play from the early ‘90s that is the penultimate production of OnStage Playhouse’s 2017-’18 season. This full-throated comedy, directed in Chula Vista by Charley Miller, does traffic in smirk and sex, but if not for the f-bombs sprayed by the story’s main character, Georgie, Spike Heels could be considered no more provocative than a musty “Sex and the City” episode.
That being said, there is a piquancy in the revival of Spike Heels today, in the Me-Too era. Georgie is a woman who is and too long has been exploited by men, both in and out of the workplace. She may be brash and profane by inclination, but Georgie is damaged, and it doesn’t take even a half-hour into the play to understand why.
Put bluntly, the men of Spike Heels are heels, and Georgie’s boss, Edward, is worse than that (which ultimately results in a puzzler of a denouement). Rebeck seems to be about trying to empower Georgie in the two-and-a-half hours of alternating teasing and yelling, but the script is hindered by sudden shifts in tone and attitude, and by character inconsistencies, too.
Onstage’s cast, however, navigates these narrative bumps smoothly. Andrea Acuna revs the full throttle of emotion as Georgie, though she lays the requisite Boston accent on thickly. (Why does no one else in the Boston-set play have an accent at all?) As salacious, immoral Edward, Mauricio Vetaci somehow elicits laughter and even a few moments of sympathy, undeserved for the predatory Edward as those might be. Neither Georgie’s downstairs Svengali, Andrew (Daniel Sosa-Porter) or Andrew’s uptight fiancé, Lydia (Samantha Schmidt) gives the audience much to like about them, though Sosa-Porter effects neurosis with fidgety aplomb.
pike Heels runs through April 7.
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.