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Dada Woof Papa Hot

  • Theater, Drama
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Dada Woof Papa Hot: Theater review by Adam Feldman
A disease is spreading through the gay world in New York City. “I had it first,” confesses Jason (Alex Hurt), a well-built and sexually driven artist. “Then Ollie, now Scott’s got it too.” Ollie’s friend Nikki has been infected as well, reveals writer Alan (John Benjamin Hickey) in reply; “I get sick all the time now,” he adds. Don’t be too worried, though: Peter Parnell’s Dada Woof Papa Hot is set in 2015, not 1985, and the malady in question is a common cold that's circulating among preschool children and their parents, some of whom are two daddies.
LGBT people have come a long way since The Normal Heart, and Parnell’s up-to-date gay play is a natural outcome of that progress. Alan and his husband, therapist Rob (Patrick Breen), have been together for 15 years; they have a three-year-old daughter, Nikki, who is biologically Rob’s. Their friends include a straight couple, philandering Michael (John Pankow) and reliable Serena (Kellie Overbey), and a younger same-sex couple, louche Jason and starchy Scott (Stephen Plunkett). The play gives a bougie gay-male spin to such issues as marital fidelity, parental attachment and the waning of sexual heat in relationships.
Dada Woof Papa Hot is meticulously assembled, sleekly directed by Scott Ellis, and credibly acted by a cast that also includes Tammy Blanchard as Michael’s mistress; it has a clever sliding puzzle of a set by John Lee Beatty. It is sincere in intent, faithful to the world it depicts and, as drama, rather dull: the wringing of well-manicured hands. Remember all the the one-liners about how gay marriage should be legal so gays could suffer like everyone else? Dada Woof Papa Hot is a little like a nonjoke version of those. Many audience members at Lincoln Center, gay and straight, may recognize themselves in the people onstage, and there's nothing wrong with that. But surely art can do more than hold a mirror up to the Upper West Side.—Adam Feldman
Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater (Off Broadway). By Peter Parnell. Directed by Scott Ellis. With John Benjamin Hickey, Patrick Breen. Through January 3.

Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam


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