Friday, August 22, 2008

The Little Dog Laughed - INTIMAN

The Little Dog Laughed
August 15 – September 13, 2008
Tickets and Information

Christa Scott-Reed as Diane and Neal Bledsoe as Mitchell. Photo by Chris Bennion 2009

“Quick. You have ten seconds to name the most prominent openly gay leading man within the Hollywood studio system. If you have any doubts, leading man means star/romantic lead of blockbuster movies. Okay, ready, get set, go! (Tick, tick, tick. Silence.)”

This quote is taken from Artistic Director Craig Lucas’ reflection page at the beginning of the program for The Little Dog Laughed playing now at Intiman and I can think of no better question to preface this play. The story is simple in its insanity. Mitchell Greene (Neal Bledsoe) is the newest up and coming Hollywood star under the guidance of his agent Diane (Christa Scott-Reed). However, when he hires Alex (Quinlan Corbett), a ‘rent boy’ and accidentally falls for him, his “occasional problem with homosexuality” becomes a life-consuming dilemma for him and Diane. Meanwhile, Alex’s ‘girlfriend,’ Ellen (Megan Hill), has problems of her own with life and the pursuit of a lost childhood at the age of 24.

Seems simple enough, right? Now add in the facts that The Little Dog Laughed (2007 Tony Award for Best Play Nominee) is written by Douglas Carter Beane (Xanadu, The Band Wagon, Devil May Care, To Wong Foo, etc) and directed by Fracaswell Hyman (Intiman’s To Kill a Mockingbird, The Famous Jett Jackson, Little Bill, Malcolm X, etc). Getting the idea?

Megan Hill as Ellen and Quinlan Corbett as Alex. Photo by Chris Bennion 2009

The Little Dog Laughed rocks; plain and simple. Its fast pace, its witty dialogue, its natural and believable language and the talent portraying it all come together to blow the audience away. It is very difficult to pick out one or another element that exceeds the rest. However, standing out for sure is Christa Scott-Reed as Diane. Her potency, control and grace on stage are truly awesome. Together with Neal Bledsoe, Quinlan Corbett and Megan Hill, the cast is an unstoppable force of comedic timing, grand power and brilliant clarity.

Hyman’s direction brings the house down. I can’t express enough how truly and undeniably hilarious this play is in Hyman’s and the cast’s hands. However, though the audience will laugh through every minute of this piece, they’ll be left with a cold spot in their stomach for the beautifully human pain that comes through in every moment of this play.

I also cannot go without commending Matthew Smucker (scenic design) on yet another radiant set. The turntable, such a difficult element to implement well, is used perfectly and the set comes together, without obstructing a moment of the action, to illuminate the action and dialogue.

Altogether, I highly recommend this piece. If there’s a show in town to see, it’s this one.

Review by Nigel Andrews

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