BY MICHAEL SOMMERS
OFF BROADWAY REVIEW
“Chimichangas and Zoloft” sounds like a nasty combination to digest – spicy fried food mixed with anti-depressants – but the same-named new play by Fernanda Coppel goes down nicely enough, thanks to tasty acting, natural chitchat and a good production by and at Atlantic Stage 2, where the show opened on Sunday.
Set in contemporary Los Angeles, the story regards 15 year-old best friends, Jackie (Carmen Zilles) and Penelope (Xochitl Romero), and their respective dads Ricardo (Teddy Canez) and Alejandro (Alfredo Narcisso).
This latest middle-class generation of mall girls is surprisingly casual in dealing with major stuff: Jackie worries that her recent coming out as a lesbian has freaked her mom Sonia (Zabryna Guevara), who suddenly has split for parts unknown. Penelope fears that she might be pregnant by a low-life dude.
Meanwhile, the dads furtively share a relationship that goes beyond their carpooling duties. Contending with midlife crisis, Sonia expresses her woes in monologues between the play’s series of short scenes.
While the play is merely sitcom in scope in spite of its hot-button problems, the 26-year-old playwright’s fluent way with pungent teen-speak is entertaining. Neatly staged by Jaime Castaneda upon a spare, white-bricks set by Lauren Helpern that easily suggests California locations, the production and its always believable actors make the most of Coppel’s talk, which proves more arresting than her story.
“Chimichangas and Zoloft” continues through June 24 at Atlantic Stage 2, 330 W. 16th St., New York. Call (212) 279-4200 or visit www.ticketcentral.com.