note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
If your mother told you never to laugh at someone elseís expense, she never saw Douglas Carter Beaneís THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED (at SpeakEasy through February 16th). This naughty send-up of show biz morality is proof positive that laughter is the best revenge. Beane has tangled with Tinseltown himself and lived to tell the tale.
Not since the dish ran away with the spoon, have so many mismatches been so cleverly aligned --- and realigned --- but letís not get ahead of ourselves. The very best reason to see THE LITTLE DOG is Maureen Keiller as the ferocious, tart tongued uber-agent who could, if she desired to, bully superpowers into submission. (Letís send her to end the war in Iraq!) Resplendent in a red carpet-worthy, spun gold gown by Gail Astrid Buckley, she wheels and deals her way around both coasts, steering the career of an up and coming actor (Robert Serrell) on the brink of stardom.
Beaneís dialogue is rife with hip, in-jokes about Hollywood and knowing references to famous movies (and one terribly unfunny reference to AIDS which doesnít fit the overall cheeky tone of the play). He bloodies Nicole Kidmanís nose but isnít so obvious about his model for the superstar. Everyone at intermission was trying to guess who it really is whoís ďprotecting his fan baseĒ by hiding his homosexuality. (Can you believe it, in this day and age?)
Angie Jepson is the sassy, fast talking manipulator who is checkmated by Keillerís grand master --- but itís Jonathan Orsiniís character of the sweet hustler we really care about. Orsini makes him earnest and vulnerable, and so charismatic that weíre rooting for him to get what he wants. (By elevating him at playís end, director Paul Melone letís us know he will.)
Eric Levensonís sleek ultra-modern, two level, beamed set (bathed in warm, golden light by Jeff Adelberg) niftily affords Keiller a Valhalla-esque perch.