Up for Anything
A Viagra-themed sex farce droops.
Wed Oct 28 2009
BATTLE OF THE BULGE Camille Habacker deals with an engorged lover; Photographs:...
In a way, it’s sweet that when punk ages, it doesn’t go goth—it goes Restoration. Downtown playwright Marc Spitz has spent a decade sniping at pop culture and its discontents, imagining an afterlife for Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and getting a tidy reputation for sloppy plays about the rock mindset. But in his flaccidly produced, Viagra-inspired Up for Anything, Spitz—apparently trying to create the most disposable entertainment imaginable—recalls nothing so much as the bawdy, silly comedies of Sheridan and Congreve, in which characters exist only to issue cutting remarks and tumble into shallow liaisons. Spitz’s wordplay, though, confines itself strictly to the “Pianist? Penis!” variety. Sparkle it don’t.
Walter Dabney (Jonathan Marc Sherman) is our hero only because he stands at center stage most of the time. Since this is farce, everyone is a sketch, from Dabney (suffering from a pill-induced, long-lasting erection), to his campy editor, daffy mistress, slutty mother-in-law and unending supply of nosy neighbors. And since it is uneasy farce, everything lags a beat behind. But then, just as hope is sinking, Dabney’s vitriolic father-in-law (a splendidly weird Leroy Logan) cruises in, his silky white beard like a schooner’s sail above a creaking bulk. Settling heavily onto the couch, Logan hijacks the play, dispensing bitter judgments on the flightiness of today’s poets and GPS navigation and the superiority of Remington typewriters. “Balzac!” He shouts. “Balls!” And for about 20 minutes at the end, the play goes genuinely nuts.—Helen Shaw
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