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Off Broadway

Koalas are Dicks: An Australian ‘Ted’ Comes Alive For Better or Worse

Koalas are Dicks: An Australian ‘Ted’ Comes Alive For Better or Worse

Have you seen the movie, “Ted“? The one that stars Mark Wahlberg as a man whose childhood wish of bringing his teddy bear to life comes true, but then must decide who is more important in his life; his hot girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis) or his foul mouthed teddy bear, not surprisingly named, Ted. I have not, just to be clear.  It is probably a funny movie, but it’s definitely not ‘my kind’ of film.  I tend to shy away from this type of frat-boy adolescent humor, so, to be entirely up front, I.m guessing that I am not the intended audience for Koalas are Dicks, a new play by Larry Phillips (FringeNYC 2016’s Best Play nominee, The Rise of Mediocrity) because that is exactly what kind of play this is.  I must admit that I am probably the worst person to review this type of play, to be fair. But here I go, and I promise to be thoughtful and not brutal, because, to be honest, it’s a fairly well structured play; a decently crafted ride from start to finish. It’s just not for me.

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Peter Buck Dettmann, Tiffany May McRae, Patrick T. Horn. Photo by Zoë Lintzeris.

Brody, played with a loutish shit-eating grin by Peter Buck Dettmann (American Theater of Actors’s Othello), is America’s favorite TV sitcom-star koala. In the public’s eyes, he is the most lovable and charming of any marsupials you may meet (who is a working TV series star), but those around him know him as more like the Charlie Sheen of Koalas.  Holed up in a sleazy LAX motel with his wrangler, played by the funny and comically interesting Tiffany Mae McRae (59E59’s G.I. Joe Jared) and his dim one-man entourage, Davey, played with a ridiculous silly grin by the over acting but game Larry Phillips (Adam Szymkowicz’s The Why Overhead), Brody has gone wild.  He has decided he is done with it all; with his popular sitcom and his huge star status and salary. With just 12 episodes away from syndication, his agent, Ross, played by a fairly solid Patrick T. Horn (Irish Rep’s The Dead) tries desperately with all his smarmy intellect to lure him back to the set, but Brody and Davey have other ideas. Sailing into the room, past the flash bulbs of the paparazzi, are Brody’s co-star, Allison, played with sly wit by Phoebe Leonard (Rebel Theater’s Salome) and an LAX hooker, played by Griffin Hennelly (Breakfast in Cold Blood) with a sweet smile and abs that are definitely not made of steel (maybe from numerous muffins, alcohol, and/or drugs). Once the gang is all assembled, the madcap hilariousness should be in full swing, and it is, if adolescent humor and ridiculousness is your cup of tea. If not, the play tends to wear pretty thin even as it merrily rolls along.

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Patrick T. Horn, Peter Buck Dettmann, Tiffany May McRae, Griffin Hennelly, Larry Phillips, Phoebe Leonard. Photo by Zoë Lintzeris.

Brody has enough booze and drugs to last for months, and a strong desire to drink and snort as much as any Koala can. Phillips does an interested thing with a talking koala that no one can actually hear except for us, and a team of desperate players all looking to score something by the end of the day.  He does write in a few surprises and a few good jokes within this clear-cut pathway to an ending that one doesn’t see coming, without ever being bogged down in logic or deep thought.  Directed by Ben Liebert (Redhouse’s The Bomb-itty of Errors) with a pretty sophomoric flair for comedy, Koalas are Dicks creates the silliest of situations filled with the dirtiest and most juvenile of jokes and pratfalls, but they are well played by the cast, played out in the filthiest of a true-to-life set by Meg McGuigan (Shakespeare Society’s Romeo and Juliet) with lighting by Erik Fox.  If this is your kind of humor, and it seemed that I was surrounded by such folks the night I saw it at Theatre 80 at St. Marks, you’ll have a good time and you won’t sweat the small stuff, enjoying the raunchy humor of this play.  If it is not, and I’m definitely in the camp, you will tend to get a bit worn out as the tale keeps barreling forward towards its some-what satisfying ending.  It is a dark Hollywood comedy about fame, friendship, ruthless ambition, all revolving around a foul-mouthed celebrity marsupial, but not the smart kind of darkness I usually want from my comedies. I wish a few more brain cells stayed alive and inhabited the script rather than dying off in the barrage of drugs and alcohol consumed on stage, but I might be in the minority when it comes to its target audience.

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Larry Phillips, Griffin Hennelly, Peter Buck Dettmann. Photo by Zoë Lintzeris.
 For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Off Broadway
@#frontmezzjunkies

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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