I am still realing from last nights Richmond debut of "The Little Dog Laughed". Since I am not reviewing it for anyone I am free to share my thoughts with you:
Bruce Miller and Phil Whiteway should be applauded for choosing this play. It is gutsy, funny and sure to be controversial in this conservative berg. It was everything theatre should be. Well produced. Well directed. Well acted. Very well written. Funny, smart, tender, poignient, exciting. It is the type of play that many of us hunger for in Richmond and can usually only find produced at the Firehouse Theatre or by Triangle Players.
Douglas Carter Beane (who is adorably boyish and mussed in person) adeptly provides a commentary on the manipulative nature or Hollywood on art, actors and the general public. He uses the case of the utter distruction of Truman Capote's "Breakfast At Tiffany's" from the brilliant novella to "safe" film as his running theme while telling the tale of a gay actor, his manipulative agent and the destruction of another work of art dealing with a gay theme. Although the story of the gay male lovers is the focal point, the female characters of the play really move the story along.
But Blah, Blah, Blah ...I linger too long on the plot. Why do you really need to see this play? It is incredibly well written! There is enough running theme, good characters and controversy to keep anyone happy.
Susan Sanford is AMAZING as the hardboiled yet studiously soft talent agent, Diane. She is the "Cat" fiddling the story and the characters into place. You can feel that this woman is a ring master and is really running this show from the first moment the audience is introduced to her- all glammed and standing on "the" red carpet delivering a brilliant monolog that sets the tone and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" relationship.
Eventhough there is not much chemistry between the two male actors, Matt Hackman and John Kenneth DeBoer, they both put in very fine performances. Hackman and DeBoer are new to the Barksdale stage and the fresh faces were a risk well taken. They were great at getting naked too- none of that awkward wierdness that can happen sometimes when actors take their clothes off and walk around on stage in the buff.
DeBoer was recently wonderful in "Visiting Mr. Green" by Richmond Triangle Players. He has that New York nice bad boy look about him reminiscent Frank Sinatra as Sky Masterson in the movie version of "Guys and Dolls". I overheard someone at intermission commenting on how cute his butt is as well. It just gets better and better doesn't it?
I am very proud of Hackman who, according to his program bio, is a relative newcomer to professional theatre. One would not have known.
Laine Satterfield is fabulous too! She fully fleshes out this already juicy character. Her nuances as the money-driven-looking-for-the-easy-life girl are perfect.
It just all seemed so good and fresh and exciting. Everyone should see this show and bring hundreds of friends. Because it is a production like this that proves top notch theater that can compete anywhere CAN be done here. (I'm not saying we don't have good theatre in Richmond but "The Little Dog Laughed" shows where the bar should be set all the time.) Theatre lovers must support this show to prove that we who live for excellent challenging theatre are here and will support it.