The Irish Curse

A new crotchcentric comedy in which size matters.

  • COCK SHORT Jaeck, standing, sermonizes on genital length.

COCK SHORT Jaeck, standing, sermonizes on genital length.

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

They have such quaint terms for it—baby corn, cocktail wiener, bottle cap. But these aren’t nicknames for a miniature dachshund or a diminutive buddy; they’re expressions the men of a Brooklyn Heights support group use to refer to their embarrassingly tiny penises. Known as the Irish Curse, it has secretly shattered the lives of the characters in Martin Casella’s colorful character-driven comedy of the same name. “Did drink cause the Curse—or do we drink because of it?” ponders Father Kevin (Scott Jaeck), the priest whose church hosts their weekly bitchfests.

The tenor of a meeting erupts into something more emotionally evocative one rainy evening. Newcomer Kieran Reilly (Roderick Hill) gets a rise out of the others when his questions thrust sex-obsessed gay undercover cop Stephen (soap opera star Austin Peck), neurotic lawyer and single father Joseph (Dan Butler) and jockstrap-stuffing college student Rick (Brian Leahy) into uncomfortable areas.

As the men relate to each other on a deeper level, their bluster and bravado give way to revelations of loneliness and humiliating sexual encounters, a merry proclamation of the link between penile size and presidential politics and, naturally, the need for self-acceptance. Directed with a keen eye for both ribald and tender moments by Matt Lenz, The Irish Curse falters when Casella stretches the play beyond its light dramatic content into sentimentality with a character’s climactic confession. But this gifted ensemble (Butler and Peck are particularly affecting) is so delightful, one can forgive an occasional shortcoming.

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SoHo Playhouse. By Martin Casella. Dir. Matt Lenz. With ensemble cast. 1hr 30mins. No intermission.