The Little Dog Laughed Is Salty, Adult Fun
(Top) Mary Hooper as Diane; (L-R) Bryan Kaplun as Alex, Rebekah Stevens as Ellen and Nate Suurmeyer as Mitchell in TheaterLaB's production of Douglas Carter Beane's The Little Dog Laughed
The Setup: This madcap fairy tale about Hollywood, its hypocrisy and its fleeting visions of fame and fortune, revolves around a quartet of lost, lonely and unscrupulous characters all out for a buck. So what if there's "a little deception" involved, a lie here, a broken heart there? They're out to reinvent themselves. But love has a wicked way of tripping them up.
Closeted actor Mitchell (Nate Suurmeyer) is on the cusp of major stardom. However, he's fallen for one of his many tricks, young hustler Alex (Bryan Kaplun), who's fallen hard, too. This predicament doesn't sit well with Mitchell's agent, Diane (Mary Hooper), who's part Professor Marvel, part Medusa, or with Alex's girlfriend (Rebekah Stevens). Mitchell, in thrall, is ready to come out, which sends Diane into a tailspin. No gay actor -- no star -- has ever come out and been successful, she warns with acid-laced, iced-martini wit, unless they're British and knighted.
The Execution: I wish to nominate Douglas Carter Beane's scintillating comedy for Best Gay Fantasy. If you have any questions about gay life you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask, Beane -- and the superb rendering that his sparkling comedy receives at Theater LaB -- will be only too thrilled to answer them, and maybe tempt you to ask a few more.
Fortunately, for us, nobody keeps his mouth shut, and they purr out Beane's catty rejoinders with Wilde abandon as the complications mount. In the New York production, this was Diane's show. Here, it's much more balanced, and everybody gets the star turn. Under the spot-on direction of Jimmy Phillips, all four actors shine as bright as a rhinestone reflection. It's so much better the Theater LaB way.
The Verdict: With its salty tongue ready and eager to lick all sorts of places, Little Dog's an adult show, no doubt about it. Now go and see it. Good boy.
(Through December 11. 1706 Alamo, 713-868-7516 for tickets.)
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