BWW Review: The Klunch Presents Wildly Funny ADULT ENTERTAINMENT

BWW Review: The Klunch Presents Wildly Funny ADULT ENTERTAINMENT

The premise is promising: when a group of porn stars decides to make a "real movie", hilarity ensues. Veteran director Joe Banno and a talented cast make the absolute most of it in the Klunch's production of Elaine May's play ADULT ENTERTAINMENT - to fun, fizzy, and surprisingly human effect.

In 1990s New York City, trashily styled to perfection by Mei Miles (costume design) and David C. Ghatan (lighting and set design), our lovable but vapid crew convinces cameraman Gerry (Erik Harrison), a Yale alum, to come up with a movie script for them. Porn producer Guy (Tony Greenberg) and actors Jimbo (Steve Lebens), Heidi the Ho (Ellie Nicoll), Frosty Moons (Paige O'Malley), and Vixen (Zoe Walpole) are then asked to study classic literature in order to create the pretentious piece of cinema. In a brilliant comedic concept, deadpan humor on the adult film industry marries up with mockery of highbrow culture.

It's a testament to the strength of the ensemble that they maintain an expressive humanity throughout. Behind their blank faces and shallow speech patterns, you can sense their intelligence and sensitivity. An excellent example is Heidi's analysis of Flaubert's A SIMPLE HEART. In a flimsy outfit and blond wig resembling an off-duty HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, she reflects aloud on the tragedy of the story's protagonist, her eyes shining with emotion. My own were filled with tears of laughter.

As the team absorbs their reading assignments, ranging from THE JEW OF MALTA to OUR TOWN to DEATH OF A SALESMAN, they strive for "art" and undergo unexpectedly deep, and inconvenient, personal revelations. Gerry is shooting for a film in which "the theme is hope, the dynamic is trust" and "the villain...and the hero...is reality." Pause for effect; cue applause.

This mighty effort does culminate in something like a movie masterpiece, but it takes a bit too long for the play to arrive there. A shorter, tighter timeline without an intermission would have been more fitting, but this isn't enough for me to dissuade anyone from going for the many, many laughs. The transition scenes alone are worth it - stripteases set to whimsical songs that were recorded by the actors specifically for the occasion.

All in all, ADULT ENTERTAINMENT is a highly enjoyable romp. It's not reinventing the theatre industry any more than the so-called "real movie" is reinventing the porn industry, but it's sure a great time.

Running time: approximately 2 hours 15 minutes, including one 10-minute intermission.

The Klunch presents ADULT ENTERTAINMENT through March 31, 2018, at Caos on F, 923 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004. Tickets can be purchased at www.theklunch.com or at the venue box office.

Photo: from left, Paige O'Malley as Frosty Moons and Ellie Nicoll as Heidi the Ho in ADULT ENTERTAINMENT, courtesy of the Klunch.

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From This Author Barbara Johnson

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