Stage

Becoming Kinky: Some Things Beat Being Governor

Check out our a slideshow from the play's opening night.

What a smooth, hilarious thing the opening and world premiere of Becoming Kinky: The World According To Kinky Friedman was Monday night at the Mucky Duck, with the Kinkster himself gazing on.

By the time the first public performance was over, it was former Houstonian Ted Swindley's gently conceived script - careful not to go over the top but filled with pungent Kinksterisms - that won over the entire crowd, which included trial lawyer Dick DeGuerin and family, local socialite Kimberly DeLape, co-producer Carolyn Farb, and a phalanx of shutter-clicking photographers.

There was plenty of Kinky's bigger-than-the-silver-screen bravado, inherent Texas swagger and confirmed-bachelor wiliness in Swindley's script; the man wrote Always... Patsy Cline, so he knows what he's doing. And it is Swindley's script and stage adaptation that make this play such a winner, at least in its infancy.

At this young age, the production is in flux, but fortunately it is a very agreeable sort of flux. It captures an essence of something so Texan, so decent and so cool that all of us born between the Rio Grande, the Red River and the Sabine will be proud to claim it as our own.

As far as acting goes, country singer Jesse Dayton got through his stage debut most admirably. And with a performance belying his age, young Conroe-based actor Ross Bautsch as Friedman in his young Peace-Corp-hippie days easily proved that he has been on the stage since before elementary school and his years studying theater at USC.

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William Michael Smith