comment

MAKING PORN, at the Theatre Building. There's one good reason to see Ronnie Larsen's Making Porn, which has returned to Chicago after running off-Broadway for the past year. And it's not gay porn superstar Ryan Idol--who's left the show anyway. As Jack Hawk, the straight actor turned reluctant gay porno icon, Idol spent perhaps two minutes undressed. Otherwise he was competent and likable, even managing a credible sense of shame when told to strip for the cameras, but like almost everyone else in the cast he made big, obvious choices, which are about all that Larsen's script allows. That broadness serves the play's comedy well--the scenes in which hack director Arthur films totally unimaginative sexual fantasies are hysterical--but it reduces the subplots about relationships to melodrama. And since the entire second act is devoted to those subplots, the play ends up a collection of frazzled loose ends.

The reason to see Making Porn is Larsen himself, whose performance as the overbearing, manipulative, deeply wounded film director is a marvel. Larsen's comic timing is impeccable; when Hawk's wife shows up on the set, he pulls a dozen fully convincing double takes. More important, he somehow turns an exploitative monster--Arthur bars condoms from his sets when AIDS first begins to creep into the gay community--into a pathetic, even sympathetic chump. You can spend two bucks and rent Idol Eyes anytime you want, but you won't see another performance like Larsen's soon.

--Justin Hayford

Add a comment