A case of the gays

The Little Dog Laughed

<i>The Little Dog Laughed</i>: Extreme pontification.

The Little Dog Laughed: Extreme pontification.

Photo By Brian kameoka

Rated 5.0

With a bit of nudity, swearing and sex, The Little Dog Laughed is quirky and caustic, sassy and sardonic, witty and wickedly funny—and at times unexpectedly poignant.

The B Street Theatre offers up this edgy, satirical peek into the shadowy side of show business, and into the lonely closet of a gay actor who is scared to risk his rising hetero heartthrob reputation. To further reveal the hypocrisy of the entertainment world, actor Mitchell is up for a “groundbreaking” role as a gay man, but they are only looking for straight actors who can portray gay (à la Brokeback Mountain), and they want a rewrite to include a woman love interest.

Playwright Douglas Carter Beane creates four characters—Mitchell the actor; Diane, his always-working-every-angle manager; Alex, the young hustler who ignites Mitchell’s yearnings; and Ellen, Alex’s confused girlfriend.

If fact, everyone’s a little confused except Diane, a great prototype of a purveyor of power and success at all costs (which includes integrity and personal happiness). The role of Diane is a gift, and actress Kathryn Morison gives back with a funny, acidic performance as she deals with Alex’s “slight recurring case of homosexuality.”

But the play wouldn’t work if we didn’t believe in the slowly evolving relationship between Mitchell and Alex, and this is where the talented performances of Kurt Johnson and Patrick Alparone seal the deal. Their physical and emotional battles are awkward and sweet—and sad. Rounding out the cast is Elana Wright, who actually convinces us she could have a gay hustler boyfriend. Director Elisabeth Nunziato deftly spins all the ever-changing emotional plates and keeps this production on an even keel even as the characters threaten to careen off-kilter.