ArtsATL > Theater > Review: “Sex a.k.a. Wieners & Boobs” at Dad’s Garage needs less ketchup, more mustard

Review: “Sex a.k.a. Wieners & Boobs” at Dad’s Garage needs less ketchup, more mustard

Mark Kendall and Perry Frost in "Sex a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs" (Photo by Stacey Bode)
Mark Kendall and Perry Frost in "Sex a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs" (Photo by Stacey Bode)
Mark Kendall and Perry Frost in Sex a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs. (Photo by Stacey Bode)

The venue may have changed since last season but the spirit of Dad’s Garage certainly doesn’t seem to have been broken in the move. The company’s new Sex a.k.a. Wieners & Boobs, running through March 22 at 7 Stages, is right up Dad’s anarchic alley, even if it doesn’t reach the vintage comic heights the company is capable of.

Dad’s new production is a farcical take on High Noon. In the town of Teaneck, New Jersey, a new sheriff — Jack Greenberg (Mark Kendall) — has taken over. He quickly realizes that the city is run by Tad Theaterman (Lucky Yates), a crime boss who has minions everywhere, as well as a brothel full of hookers and gigolos. (Yates, in a second role, has a droll moment as a male prostitute willing to do almost anything to anyone.)

When he’s not trying to clean up the city, the sheriff takes a liking to Hillary (Perry Frost), a young woman who has just divorced her husband, Gerald Depardieu (Tom Rittenhouse), who is not, as the play explains, the Oscar-nominated French actor. (The irony is, he’s not the only Depardieu in town.) Others in this surreal city include Deputy Flang, who dies when a body part gets caught in a wheat thrasher; Madame Tuso, who runs the bordello; Tad’s son; and various others.

It’s narrated by an Old Timer (Matt Horgan, Dad’s associate artistic director) and virtually all of the performers take on multiple roles. Horgan even plays himself at one point. The script is chock full of characters, so much in fact it can be difficult keeping track of who’s who.

Written by the team of Joe Lo Truglio, Michael Showalter, and David Wain — known best for their film Wet Hot American Summer there is little sex in the play, despite the title. There is some raunchiness, however. It’s low-brow humor with its share of flatulence, sight gags and a scene-stealing prosthetic device that deserves Suzi Bass Award recognition. From almost out of nowhere, the second act opens with a clever homage to Glengarry Glen Ross that comes pretty close to David Mamet’s actual text. It’s funny, but what it adds to the goings-on is debatable.

This is basically kitchen sink theater — toss enough out and something sticks. It’s nutty and unpredictable. The production comes complete with dance sequences, including an inventive, sexual one with Hillary and Jack.

Let’s be honest — one doesn’t see a show called Sex a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs expecting Chekhov. This is directed by Kevin Gillese, Dad’s artistic director, and he and the cast– also including Megan Leahy and Rueben Medina — have comic chops and a flair for this kind of work. Yet this often feels like an improv session with actors playing off each other and the audience. In his curtain speech, Horgan says Sex was penned quickly by the playwrights to fill a void in Dad’s season. That’s not really the case — that gag is part of the script. This is actually a decade-old show that only seems like it was thrown together at the very last minute.

Last year Dad’s Garage had to leave its well-established home in Inman Park. They are now performing out of 7 Stages — literally right down the street from their former location — until a permanent home can be located. It’s nice to see them producing while they house hunt. If this sounds like your kind of play, by all means check it out. It has some laughs, yet it’s unlikely to convert anyone not already a Dad’s fan.

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