I found this review to be “a rousing” endorsement of the production and very “stimulating”. Heh. And funny. Mostly funny.
NAKED BEFORE GOD
M.R. Hunter – EyeSpyLA
Wanna know if your date is uptight about things like porn, dildos, homosexuality and religion? Instead of trying to broach these subjects delicately over a candlelit dinner, treat your potential mate to Circle X’s outrageous farce by newcomer playwright Leo Geter at [Inside] the Ford. There’s little left to the imagination in this bawdy comedy that literally serves up a boiling stew of sex toys, ecclesiastic zeal, and very adult humor. Your date will either laugh or squirm, which is a fairly good predictor of your future sexual compatibility, if you’re into butt plugs and strap-ons.
Geter’s absurd microcosm of a former porn star family is the kind of show that drops its drawers, bends over and delivers without the benefit of any lube. Forget finesse or foreplay. It’s crass, over-the-top satire without any substance, but it is ridiculously funny. While the premise of an aging porn star mom trying to make quick cash through a born-again tell-all book and reality TV show is as superficial as a one-night stand, Geter’s zingy dialogue does turn out some tricks.
This isn’t Leave it to Beaver…well, actually maybe it is, but adult actress turn Christian do-gooder Kristen (played by the wildly enthusiastic Jennifer A. Skinner) is no June Cleaver. She’s a desperate, moody, self-absorbed chain-smoker recovering (five weeks clean) drug addict looking for an opportunity around every seedy corner. As a mother, she’s nothing if not supportive of her dimwitted 19-year-old son, Duncan (Morgan McClellan) breaking into the internet sex industry. She even goes so far as to offer tips and suggestions while sanitizing phalluses on the stovetop with the same care as a mom packing her son’s lunch for school.
There’s trouble in this Arizona suburban paradise when Duncan brings home Nick (Christopher Foley) a drifter that enjoys being a bottom. Duncan’s sassy fiancé, Carly (Jen Kays) a former stripper turned X-Ray technician with a bun in the oven has plans of her own. In the midst of these oddball dregs of society, Kristen invites Barry (William Salyers) a sleazy Christian talk radio host-producer to her home. Before the burgers are thrown on the grill, Vinnie (Larry Clarke), Kristen’s ex-husband/porn partner now turned Special Ops bodyguard rushes her home with a stranger of his own. The potential is ripe for strange twists, non-stop hilarity and hijinks.
Regrettably, the belly laughs are in the setup of the first act and sorely lacking in the non-conclusive second. Geter’s amoral characters are stunning at first blush but by the middle of the play, the shock and eww aspect to the situational comedy has long since abated. Then the plot just becomes downright silly. It’s as if Geter didn’t know exactly what to do with these colorful personalities or how to keep upping the ante without losing the major threads of the story. He loosely ties it up at the end with a brief but befitting image of Kristen flashing her tits ala Girls Gone Wild. That’s the nudity folks. Personally, I would have appreciated the men dropping trou.
The cast does an exceptional job of playing it straight, ironic with all the homoeroticism blowing around, and undeniably make these depraved characters likeable, almost charming like herpes. Salyers channels a hippy, unorthodoxy to his Christian persona. Clarke gives his complex character a lot of unsophisticated swagger and McClellan, Foley and Aly Mawji as Octavio each mine the outrageous turnabouts throughout. The women however steal the show with Kays more than convincing performance as a manipulative bitch with looks that could kill expressions. Jennifer A. Skinner has the most difficult role by far and hits it out of the ballpark with realistic exaggeration, physical licentiousness, and perfectly realized comedic timing. She’s a hoot and a holler as we say in Texas. Her skillfully maintained mania is this production’s strongest asset.
Set and lighting design by Brian Sidney Bembridge is fully detailed with tacky flourishes like the pink flamingo in the backyard (a must) and excellent lighting effects for the ghetto-bird chopper.
If you’re looking for the perfect date-night out then “Naked Before God” is better than seeing The Lucky One at the Cineplex. The after-show conversation will definitely be livelier. And if you’re into porn and things of that ilk, this is a better screener for a new lover than eHarmony.
About the Author: COLIN MITCHELL: Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Father, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Broadway veteran, Marvel comics scribe, Van Morrison disciple, Zen-Catholic, a proud U.S. Army Brat conceived in Scotland and born in Frankfurt, Germany, currently living in Los Angeles and doing his best to piss off as many people as possible.