Dex & Abby goes to the dogs | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Review

Dex & Abby goes to the dogs

Two gay men and their pooches try to build a life together in this tepid play.

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UPDATE Tuesday, March 17: this event has been suspended, though it may be remounted in the future. Refunds available at point of purchase.


Normally, in a fantasy life, you obsess over your pets. Dog cloning figures largely in the mind anytime I think about how it would feel to be Barbra Streisand, personally. But there comes a point in any conversation with a decadent person—around hour two, perhaps—when you wonder if or when this fascinating individual will move on from dog talk and feed you dinner. That moment never comes in Dex & Abby, a 130-minute tepid fiasco, written by Allan Baker and directed by Daniel Washelesky.

Less a play than a live-action doggy-themed greeting card, this show imagines what it would be like if a rich gay couple, Sean and Corey, moved in together, and if their dogs, who can talk, took a while to become friends. Daniel Vaughn Manasia and Chesa Greene as the titular pooch duo can wag those behinds all they want: they're dressed normally, their lines are inane garbage, and I just didn't buy that they were dogs. Sure, they're cute. But so is actual character development. So is costume design.

The overall weakness of the thing turns unsettling at times, as when Sean (Josh Pablo Szabo) tries to win an argument with Corey (Jesse Montoya) about whose experience of struggle is more valid by shouting point-blank into his partner's face, "I'm a crack whore's son!" Or when an inexplicable foldout bed emerges from the wall, stays in the scene for two quick and vapid cuddle scenes, then retracts once more, never to be seen again.  v

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