The Set-Up: In playwright and (frequent Houston Press contributor) Abby Koenig's dark comedy Spaghetti Code, Milly and Tim, an infertile married couple, have exhausted every effort to somehow have a baby of their own. When their friend Phil, a reproductive endocrinologist, mentions in passing how cost effective natural surrogacy would be (and it's covered by insurance!), Milly starts brewing an idea. What if her husband Tim and her best friend Stacy had a baby together the old fashioned way?
"With Tim's brains and Stacy's butt," the baby will be smart and gorgeous! Stacy doesn't want kids of her own, Milly and Tim do, it's the perfect plan -- only it's a little weird, right?
Time to change the sheets, Stacy's coming over tonight.
The Execution: Grounded in a stylized humor that isn't over the top, Spaghetti Code follows Milly, Tim, Stacy, and Phil as they pine over old flames and spark new (and perhaps unexpected) ones, watch Latin soap operas during girl time and wait in suspense at the doctor's office. Koenig handedly illustrates a scenario that entertains as it draws you into the reality of the situation. Many couples go through the pain of infertility - how far would you be willing to go to make a family?
From the get-go, the play feels natural and overall believable. The writing has a flowing progression and yet as entertaining and hysterical as the script is, you're not forced into suspension of disbelief. Never before have I found an abortion joke so believable and endearing.
The Verdict: Trying to tell this story is risky. Infertility is a painful subject and abortion jokes are really hard to get right. A playwright can easily create a piece that ultimately looks like a literal "spaghetti code" of sexual innuendo, raunchy humor and punchlines about placentas. Koenig and the Horse Head Company of actors instead deliver a laugh-out-loud play that has you rooting for a woman who just asked her husband to sleep with her best friend.
The cast creates characters as dynamic as they are amusing. Ivy Castle shines as a slightly neurotic Milly. Drake Simpson and Andrew Love are appropriately loud and boisterous as her computer geek husband Tim and his friend Phil (the two share giggle-worthy hoo-ha jokes). And Mischa Hutchings channels a promiscuous new-age Blanche Devereaux as Milly's best friend Stacy.
See Spaghetti Code at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays through July 28 at PJ's Sports Bar, 614 West Gray. For information, call 646‑942‑6837 or visit horseheadtheatre.org. $20.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.