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Fine Fusion

Roberto Zucco takes a haunting look at conformity

The only thing that yanks this show from the bubbling slime of the gutter is the way these sex scenes are handled with wonderfully ironic tone. We first meet Ray as he struts into a bar to do his jack-off act. Buck-naked, he sits down and goes at it. But his back is to us. The audience is in the very intimate position of being backstage. In this way we become complicit with Ray, become a group of "insiders." And from the inside, the sex trade looks incredibly banal. As he "works," Ray scratches his butt, pulls something from his ear, rubs his eye.

Making pornography, we find out, is equally unglamorous, filled with such day-to-day chores as shaving excess body hair. This drudgery is carried out with a great glee by this energetic, though not very talented, cast. In fact, much of the acting seems as if it is intended to be some sort of emulation of porno acting.

But the good jokes abound, and the naked men are clearly huge crowd pleasers -- in every way imaginable.

Roberto Zucco runs through September 11 at The Actors Workshop, 1009 Chartres, (713)522-8443. $7.99 - $9.99. Making Porn runs through September 5 at New Heights Theatre, 339 West 19th Street, (713)869-8927. $20 - $25.

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