LA Review: 'Missing Dick'

The Mirror Theater Company at the Magic Mirror Theater

Reviewed by Neal Weaver

July 15, 2012


Photo by Gordon Bressack
The title of Gordon Bressack's play is not only suggestive in itself; it's a highly loaded pun with implications in several directions. Dick and his three friends, earnest Dan (Jody Barton), crude and cynical Bud (Jed Moran), and timid divorcé Jerry (Adam Miller), have known each other since grade school. They were so close that they were referred to as "the four musketeers." Then Dick went missing for two years. Now he has turned up again, but so changed that his pals are freaked out. Dick has had sex-change surgery, and he's now a curvaceous blonde named Charlotte (Cat Lacohie). Further complicating things, Charlotte has, rather unaccountably, abandoned Dick's militantly liberal philosophy to become a conservative Republican and a born-again Christian.

The three friends respond with shock, repulsion, and a general sense of "Eww!" Dan was Dick's closest friend in the old days, and so he's deeply perplexed by the new developments, particularly as Charlotte is being decidedly seductive toward him and he's responding, leaving him fearful that he may have turned gay. He's even more confused when he discovers his girlfriend Stephanie (Mia Eden) in bed with Charlotte, with whom she had a brief fling as Dick.

What follows is a dizzy sexual roundelay, with unexpected couplings all over the place. They get even zanier with the arrival of Ivan (Arman Torosyan), a flamboyant pansexual Russian millionaire, and Jessie, a bearded drag king (JD Fairman).

Writer-director Bressack pitches his script at TV-sitcom level and plays the story for laughs rather than offering any real insights into transsexuality or sexual identity, making "Missing Dick" too schematic and formulaic to achieve much credibility. Nevertheless, it's often very funny. Bressack also plays it safe by casting a woman as Charlotte, avoiding the unease a genuine transsexual might unleash. His final scene is a tepid restoration of order, with Dan and Stephanie back together and Charlotte left to peddle her troubling wares elsewhere.

Charlotte is more of a comic construct than a character, but Lacohie plays her with voluptuous aplomb. Though Dan is sketchily written, Barton finds considerable fun in his growing confusion as all his moral certainties crash and burn around him. Moran generates much of the evening's comedy as the vulgar homophobe Bud, while Eden is a pleasing presence as the slightly fickle, sexually adventurous Stephanie.

Produced by the Mirror Theater Company at the Magic Mirror Theater, 4934 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. July 13–Aug. 4. Fri. and Sat., 7:30 p.m. (818) 732-1192, (323) 960-7770, or www.plays411.com.
 

 
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