Gay nostalgia

A Perfect Relationship

Written by Doric Wilson
Directed by Mark Finley
TOSOS II in association with Out Professionals
Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex
312 West 36th St., 1st fl. (212/330-7043)
Equity showcase (closes Apr. 27)
Review by Jade Esteban Estrada

Stonewall veteran Doric Wilson has a lot to say about gay culture. In his 1978 domestic comedy A Perfect Relationship, currently playing at the Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex, the prolific playwright masterfully demonstrates to modern audiences how much and yet how little gay men have changed over the past 25 years.

On a snowy weekend in the late 1970s, two men share a two-bedroom apartment on Christopher Street. They have little in common other than their penchant for partying and saving money by platonically living together. When a trick spends the night and then decides to take over the place, he causes a commotion between the two friends, leaving their eccentric landlady to come to save the day.

Kurt Bauccio played Ward, a wannabe-butch construction worker who bought his hardhat at Bloomingdale's. His roommate, Greg, played by Frank Anthony Polito, is a lover of the cowboy fantasy. More straight-laced than his counterpart, he tries to bring some sort of sanity to the household, with very little luck.

Eileen T'Kaye played Muriel, the intruding landlady who barges into their apartment whenever she needs to pick up some of her furniture or drop something off (which is quite often). This gave the audience the chance to meet her new boyfriends, all gorgeously portrayed by Christopher Borg. Her entrances and exits made for the most delicious comic situations of the show. T'Kaye's Alice in Wonderland-esque energy was loads of fun to watch.

The most thought-provoking point in the show also included T'Kaye, when she delivered a gripping monolog attempting to convince the two friends that they have found the perfect relationship.

Kevin Held charmingly played his role as the gone-too-far trick Barry. The sprightly player delivered his lines with sitcom speed and clarity that were amusing and appreciated. In one of the funniest moments in the play, Held was dressed in leather head to toe and asked if Bauccio had something to drink. When the host offered him a beer he replied, "I don't drink beer." After a quick moment of contemplation Bauccio protested, "you were drinking beer at the bar." With characteristic Wilsonian wit Held replied, "it goes with the costume."

Mark Finley did a magnificent job directing in the intimate space, accommodating the varied sightlines imposed by the three-quarter-round configuration.

Costume design by Chris Weikel was colorful and interesting. All of T'Kaye's costumes were effective in their gaudiness and were in line with the self-proclaimed "fag hag" her character admits to being, while Held's leather outfit was sexy and realistic. Borg's outfits were also appropriately over the top and delightful.

Michael Muccio's set design was intricate and meticulous. The used-up furniture that T'Kaye brought in was classically horrific. An impressive bit of prop detail was noticed when Polito poured a near-empty carton of milk in a glass, and then coolly threw it in the trashcan behind him as he drank the perfect amount. Specifics like these provided by Finley and a talented crew made for an engaging evening.

A classic in gay literature, A Perfect Relationship is a look back at where gay society has been while demonstrating a glimpse of the unique shades in gay male friendships. There is no doubt that we will see more theatrical works from New York's gay theatrical treasure in the near future with the re-emergence of TOSOS II. Welcome back, Mr. Wilson.

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Sets: 2
Costumes: 2
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2003 Jade Esteban Estrada