Directed by Evan F. Caccioppoli
Produced by Kid Brooklyn Productions
At The Den, Chicag0
“The only ones who can be whatever they want are white, upper-middle class, straight, conservative, Protestant men,” offers Mitchell
“You’ve become so good at telling lies, you can even fool yourself” — Diane, the agent who’s nobody’s fool, to Mitchell, her movie star client who “suffers from a slight recurring case of homosexuality” which, having moved from the depths of the closet poses a threat to his chance for a big career leap.
–Quotes from The Little Dog Laughed
Strong script well played, especially by Michael Manocchio, does justice to a smart play
Last seen on stage by About Face Theater in 2008, The Little Dog Laughed spawned controversy when playwright Douglas CarterBeane objected to the lack of full-frontal nudity in a key scene between Mitchell (Carl Lindberg and Alex (Michael Manocchio)-that was not a problem in Kid Brooklyn Production show!
Douglas Carter Beane writes contemporary characters in the stylized lyrical dialogue reminiscent of Noel Coward or Philip Barry. Beane gives each of the four characters a zinging wit laced with sarcasm. Director Evan F. Caccioppoli has cast well for this four person drama. The most stinging, devilishly sly and delicious heartless Diane the Hollywood agent player in a fine turn by Stephanie Monday. From the opening monologue, we hear about how Diane and Mitchell are friends, associates and business partners as Diane “handles” Mitchell toward stardom in Hollywood. Problem: Mitchell likes to hire rent boys. Daine believes he must stay in the closet so she can move up from being his agent to his manager and partner in a movie deal she is negotiating. When Mitchell meet Alex, a local rent boy, he falls in love and wants a relationship (whatever that means) with Alex. Alex is torn between his desire for Mitchell and his identity as a straight guy seeing Ellen (Julie Daubert). I was impressed by Michael Manocchio’s honest performance.
The world of celebrity, hypocrisy with lots of deception and image handling is brilliantly satirized. We see how shallow stardom can be and how even poor party girls like Ellen often survive through manipulation and deceit. Beane is a talented writer whose quips and one-liners together with his biting satirical monologues offer loads of humor presented in elegant language. You’ll laugh at all four characters but you’ll howl at Diane, the agent who is forever negotiating to “make everyone happy.” The outrageous ending shows who the shallow, weak ones are and who is the truthful, strong one.
This is a darkly funny romantic comedy filled with unique, yet livable characters, each striving for their identity, love, and fulfillment. Only one is a sincerely noble person who ultimately is true to himself. This production delivers.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: June 27, 2013
For more info checkout The Little Dog Laughed page at theatreinchicago.com
At The Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago