THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED
by Douglas Carter Beane
The Village Playhouse
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
‘Little Dog’ has lot to say
BY DOTTIE ASHLEY
Post & Courier Reviewer 08/14/09
Playwright Douglas Carter Beane is fearless and so is the Village Playhouse for taking the risk in staging The Little Dog Laughed, a fascinatingly honest play about show business.
With veteran director Steve Lepre’s magical timing and a cast of some of the city’s best actors, the comedy/drama was as mesmerizing as the Broadway version I saw in 2006.
Liz Duren, as the deal-making, fast-talking agent Diane, grabbed the audience the moment she stepped on stage in her stilettos. As a Hollywood agent whose star client Mitchell is suffering from “a slight case of homosexuality,” Diane well knows that a gay man who plays a gay man in a film will never get the credit that a straight man would.
Randy Risher, as Mitchell, exudes the intensity of someone who desperately wants it all: to be a famous movie star and to be in love with Alex, a male prostitute. Will Haden, as Alex, is more beguiling than the Broadway actor, and should be in a full-page Gap ad. Playing against type, Emily Wilhoit brought a hilarious, vibrant dimension to Alex’s girlfriend Ellen, who dates older rich guys for a living.
Beane’s dialogue is so witty that you are unprepared for the serious subjects in the second act. You leave the theater not thinking of the brief nudity but of how careers and lives are wrecked because of the myopia of society. You will be riveted to the stage every moment.
Sexy, Hilarious Little Dog
BY GREG HAMBRICK & SHANE SEARS
The Charleston City Paper 08/14/09
The City Paper sent out its theater queens to take a look at The Little Dog Laughed. The pair is happy to gossip about closeted gay actors, but the gerbil rumors make them a little nauseous.
Greg: The Little Dog Laughed is about ...
Shane: Two smoking hot guys who get naked for my enjoyment.
G: Well, you and the little old ladies in the audience. The Little Dog Laughed is about a rising Hollywood actor, Mitch, and his ambitious agent, Diane, who is trying to preserve his assumed heterosexuality. Then there’s the gay hustler Mitch falls for, Alex, and Alex’s girlfriend.
S: I loved it. I adored it. I’ve even come up with soundbites like you see in movie trailers. Sassy. Intimate. Sweet. Moving.
G: But enough about the latest Pepto commercial.
S: (pause for death stare/dramatic effect) Seriously funny. Heartwarming. Charming.
G: I’d add that the writing was some of the smartest you’re going to see this year.
S: And these actors — this did not feel like an opening night for me. It felt like they were living these characters’ lives. It felt like it was eavesdropping, not theater.
G: They all excelled. Liz Duren was hilarious as Diane.
S: She did Heather Locklear proud.
G: The scene where she reads off a Hollywood contract required expert timing. She pulled it off and got some of the biggest laughs of the night.
S: And her red shoes in the final scene. Fierce.
G: Um, sure. Then there was Emily Wilhoit as Alex’s girlfriend, Ellen. I was already a big fan.
S: And she delivered. She had me with the cigarette puffs in her first monologue. So many laughs.
G: Now, lets get to the main event. Randy Risher as Mitch and Will Haden as Alex.
S: The romance was incredible. The chemistry between these two actors was absolutely ... hot. There’s no other way to describe it. And the argument between the two in Act II was terrific acting. I teared up.
G: What did you think was the theme of the play? There’s a lot of talk about happiness, but you realize pretty soon that isn’t what we’re watching here.
S: It’s about the fabricated happiness that you find in Hollywood and the harsh reality you face in New York.
G: When Diane screams at Mitch to shut up, I think that really encapsulated what they’re saying here. A person wants to be happy and gay, but they’re told to keep in the closet and they believe that’s what they have to do to preserve this fabricated happiness.
S: Let’s talk a little about the nudity.
G: You know, the guy in front of me was in the way, so I had to crane my neck like some perv.
S: Did you get an eyeful?
G: Mission accomplished.
S: The nudity was completely natural. It’s not for shock value. I feel like it was symbolizing the stripping away of illusions they wore outside of the bedroom.
G: I’ve seen nudity on stage before, but never this intimate. That may have been since it was two guys in bed together.
S: Finally, props to director Steve Lepre and the Village Playhouse for putting this kind of production on. Very edgy and relevant and sexy and funny and smart. Give me more.