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Tail! Spin!

Critics' pick
Photograph: Carol Rosegg
Tail! Spin!

Politicians on the hunt for strange bedfellows are the subjects of Mario Correa’s ribald documentary collage, drawn from the past six years of lurid government sex scandals. Like the popular Celebrity Autobiography series, Tail! Spin! features talented performers, scripts in hand, teasing comic twists from the public record—in this case, text from press conferences, television interviews, tweets, instant messages and so forth. Much of the source material will be familiar to political junkies, but Correa has remixed it, via clever juxtapositions and segues, into an amusing theatrical blunder reel. The first target is former Republican senator Larry Craig (Sean Dugan, canny as always), who was nailed for cruising an undercover policeman; then comes ex-congressman Mark Foley (a gleefully lecherous Dan Hodapp), who wrote drooling IMs to an underage boy, and Anthony Weiner (a cocky Nate Smith), who inadvertently sent shots of his package out over Twitter; and finally there is South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (a droll Mo Rocca), whose romantic ramblings about his adulterous affair are treated as the musings of a moony teen Romeo. Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch mans the distaff side of these scandals marvelously, playing what the program describes as “wives, tails, beards and Barbara Walters.” (Her Jenny Sanford—Mark’s abandoned wife—is the closest thing the show has to a hero.) Staged with clarity by Dan Knechtges, Tail! Spin! takes a wide stance in its approach; with a Starr Report–like mixture of prudery and prurience, it wallows in the mud it slings, and at times—especially in the Weiner section, where little to no hypocrisy was involved—it verges on slut-shaming. But the laughs keep coming, because in the end, it is hard to feel too sorry for Correa’s targets: powerful men who, blinded by lust and narcissism, essentially screwed themselves. (Visit fringenyc.org for more information.)—Adam Feldman

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