Piece of Cake

Written and directed by Kevin Hammonds
Upstairs at Rose's Turn
55 Grove Street (366-5438)
Non-union production (Thu. & Fri. 10 p.m.)
Review by John Michael Koroly

Piece of Cake is a very pleasant diversion, an example of a genre done too often but too infrequently with enough originality and stylistic verve to justify the production. Namely, the gay sex farce.

Brian is all set to marry Felicia. His friends Gary (gay) and Steve (straight) throw him a bachelor party replete with stripper. Events are turned upside down, though, when the stripper turns out to be Brian's ex-lover....his ex-MALE lover. To complicate matters further, Felicia has stolen into the party disguised as a pizza delivery boy and is an eyewitness to the reunion. A blizzard of farcical recriminations follow with the question of just who arranged for Lance (the stripper) to appear at the party at the center of it all.

Felicia's suspicions of Brian's devotion to his new lifestyle choice, Lance's unresolved pining for Brian (and vice-versa), and a surprise revelation of unspoken love all combine in Kevin Hammonds' script to make for a buoyantly combustible comic effect.

Indeed, Hammonds seems to understand the First Law of Gay Sex Farce: Shoehorn as many jokes as conceivably possible into an hour show -- with at least three-fourths of them delivering a good punchline.Fast and furious are the watchwords of both Hammonds's writing and his direction, with dialogue and actors flying about the stage so wildly that one never has a moment to ponder the implausibilities of it all.

The cast was a mix of a couple of competent performances and a few exceptional standouts. Jim Swimm was a bit colorless as Brian. And Mark Roy was a bit mannered and just not funny enough in his timing and general delivery.

Eric Hunt, though, as Gary, was utterly at home with his lines, playing the role of the witty host to the hilt, quips seemingly effortlessly exhaled from an inner pool of them. Bash Halow as Lance displayed abundant charisma and technique, showing he's more than just an impressive pair of pectorals. And Jennifer Nye had enormous appeal as Felicia, gloriously over the top and sweetly vulnerable at the same time.

Beth Wagoner's living room set was okay to look at, and the only costume choice worth mentioning was Lance's leather G-string. (Halow must go through a lot of talcum, though.)

Box Score:
Writing 1
Directing 1
Acting 1
Set 1
Costumes 1
Lighting/Sound 1
Copyright 1996 John Michael Koroly

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