Outrageous, Sexy, (nekkid) Romp is a Mark-Brian Sonna production of an Alejandro de la Costa original play. The title says it all. All the things that MBS Productions prides itself on are served up in the surprisingly convenient Stone Cottage space at the Addison Theatre Centre.
The play is a sitcom scenario with a gay twist. Casey (Andrew Bryan) and Keith (Philip Gage) live together and have an asterisked relationship. Not exactly open but not closed enough to keep the comedy out. Their drag queen friend, Lovely Uranus (Mark-Brian Sonna), comes to crash on their couch while his apartment is condemned. He’s driven there by Lara (Emily Murphy) who, by the gods of comedy, happens to be an ex of Casey’s from his pre-gay days.
To notch up the nookie potential, she’s offered a place to stay, as well. Keith discovers to his horror that Lara turns him on and turns out to be a tigress. They put the "nekkid" in the title the first chance they get. And the second, actually.
There’s loads of adult-humor one-liners but where they make their most hay is out of the inversion of the sitcom standards. Murphy drives her scenes as the self-assured and sex-aggressive Lara. Philip Gage makes Keith’s horror hilarious as he struggles with potentially being STRAIGHT! To top it off, it is Sonna as Lovely Uranus who comes off as the most conservative, questioning Casey and Keith’s relationship rules. He functions as the gay chorus and conscience.
Sure, it’s the snack-food equivalent of theater but for the audience there on opening weekend, it was just what they wanted. And who can blame them? Artificial flavoring works because it wipes out the extraneous and whips up the wonderful. The only fiber in this Twinkie of an evening is a monologue by Sonna on the pitfalls of relationships, but even that is skewered quickly. And we are spared any real nutrition.
For those who’ve over-indulged in heavy theater, this gay parfait may be the perfect treat. Just remember: It’s a dish best enjoyed with an open mind.
writes:Saturday, June 18 at 2:58PM
I have seen a few MBS productions before and have generally been disappointed. However, the premise of this play seemed worthwhile. The first act was, to my surprise, genuinely funny and well-done. It's adult material, and you have to come with an open mind. However, the second act is excruciating. Lovely Uranus ("LU" hereafter) takes on the role of "house mother" and interrogates Lara and Keith like an FBI agent hot on the trail of terrorists. Why does "she" presume she has any business doing this? Is she/he simply jealous, secretly hoping to "move in" on Casey and/or Keith? Or is she just another hypocrite, desiring tolerance for her lifestyle yet not willing to extend tolerance to someone who may be either straight or bisexual? The comedy stops at the end of the first act, and the pain begins in the second act. There are a few laughs during the second act, but any humor is overwhelmed by the relentless interrogation. There is also a poignant moment, as indicated by the TJ reviewer, when LU soliloquies about loneliness. But, immediately after that monologue, she/he jumps into what will probably end up as a meaningless three-some. There are a lot of holes in the plot, and the actors attempt to cover them up with explanations in the dialogue, but they just don't make consistent sense. You can only bend reality so far in any play before you lose the audience. The playbill indicates there was a re-write before this play was produced. It would have been much more interesting to have seen the gay-to-straight concept developed. It's unrealistic to be sure; to a great extent, we are born one way or the other. But this would have been a very different twist on all those plays that go the other way: when someone discovers they have been trying to be straight when he or she was gay to begin with. All of the putdowns of women and straight people come across not as humorous, but instead as heterophobic. If you want tolerance, you have to be willing to extend it to others who are different from whom you are.Even when viewed as a situation comedy or a gay soap opera, this play fails. Either do one or the other, but not both. The acting is good and the set is adequate. The lighting is done well and there is no problem with the sound in this small venue. However, seating can be uncomfortable at times. "Outrageous, Sexy, (nekkid) Romp": Hmmm. Let's see. Outrageous, perhaps, but not in the way that the title indicates. Sexy: after the lengthy, how-horrible-you-two-are interrogation by LU, all sexiness was lost. Nekkid: not really; the nudity is carried on in darkness, allowing only silhouettes to be seen. Romp: that would indicate fun, and by the time LU finishes her interrogation, all fun has been destroyed. Perhaps the play should have been named "Outrageous Interrogation after a Sexy Romp". By the way, there seems to be an almost complete dearth in this area when it comes to presenting a play of either lasting value or just plain entertainment. The acting and other talent is in abundance in DFW. However, all too often the scripts come up sounding like they were totally improvised in the hope of reaching a successful conclusion. Unfortunately, much more often than not, they don't.