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""Love" has enough comically simulated sex acts, pop culture references, easy political satire and athletic male nudity to keep at least a portion of the house pretty consistently entertained for 95 minutes without intermission. Rhino hopes it will be able to run at least through the summer...judging by the audience reaction at Sunday's performance, the show may meet those expectations."
The concept is good: An obsessive sexual kink sending a grown man on a long underworld odyssey is not only fascinating but also a very San Francisco story. Octavio Saez De Ibarra does well as Isaac, trying to be flirtatious and farcical at the same time; Ronnie Kerr and Josh Feinman as two muscled straight Marines are also compelling.
SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS
"Like all of his plays, “Cocksucker” is wickedly funny, with most of the best laughs generated by Larsen’s deadpan delivery. But, beyond the many one-liners and gratuitous full frontal nudity, the play offers audiences a veiled, but thoughtful examination of sexual identity and the willingness to compromise those roles to achieve sexual gratification."
All for "Love"
BY BILL PICTURE
Of The Examiner Staff
Queer S.F. playwright Ronnie Larsen's new show, "A Love Story," takes a humorous look at puritanical American's ironic obsession with sex -- from Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky's Oval Office shenanigans and the subsequent Clintongate scandal that nearly ended his political career to the military's ridiculous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy to the huge and still growing online porn industry.
Are we as a nation more sex-obsessed than other countries? Uh, not necessarily, but we certainly go to greater lengths to hide our obsession. And talk about sex? Forget it! We don't even want to admit we have sex, much less talk about it. So it's ironic that the conservative Americans preaching so-called family values are the same folks logging onto their computers after hours, credit cards in hand, surfing for nude gallery pics and naughty webcam action.
Larsen tells the story (and a hilarious one at that) of one orally fixated gay man, Isaac (played to a T by Octavio Saez De Ibarra) and his discovery and eventual acceptance of his sexual self, from his days as a curious kid stripping down and fooling around with willing boy playmates during an otherwise innocent game of war to his adult life, spent cruising the streets surrounding a Marine base, trolling for willing straight cadets. The foundation of Larsen's story is the discharge of a group of young Marines stationed on a base in California who posed in the buff for a San Francisco-based website aptly named MarineMeat.com.
Now, the faint of heart might find Theatre Rhinoceros' latest offering a bit raunchy, because, while those of us who've been around the block will get a good laugh out of the racier scenes, the uptight and easily offended may find the nudity and simulated sex hard to swallow, pardon the pun.
But creating art within the mainstream's comfort zone is the very antithesis of Rhino's stated mission and during the organization's 25-year history, it's always proudly worn sexuality, be it gay, straight, missionary-style or downright kinky on its marquee sleeve. Thus, Larsen's production couldn't have found a more suitable home.
But "A Love Story" is never shocking just for the sake of being shocking, because to do so would be to reduce gay sexuality to a veritable freak show and the play to watered-down porn. So Larsen's careful to insert R-rated fare only when it contributes to the plot, or at the very least adds some comic flair.
And unlike so many gay productions, which portray gay men as simply carnally insatiable beings, Larsen shows the gay sexual conqueror's other, less-seen and definitely less-admitted side, the side that yearns for affection and, yes, even love.
The 90-minute production is one hilarious and smart one-liner after the next delivered with near razor-sharp precision by actors who literally become their characters the second they walk on stage.
Michaela Greeley must change characters at least five times during the course of the show but brings each one of them to life, playing the role of the uptight Republican mother of a, gasp, gay adolescent as convincingly as she does Bill Clinton's understanding wife Hillary. The show's hottest properties, however, are Josh Feinman and Ronnie Kerr, who play two thick-necked and gullible rednecks from Phoenix who join the Marines because their only other option is working at the local Wienerschnitzel and get tricked into doing an on-camera striptease thinking they're auditioning for straight porn.
Larsen thankfully forsakes the tired boy-meets-boy, boy-nails-boy, boy-falls-for-boy-but-still-nails-lots-of-other-boys formula that so many gay producers try to pass off as original and throws the audiences a bone, so to speak, one with more meat on it, showing that gay men and the subject of sexuality, particularly gay sexuality, are far too complicated to be widdled down to a cheesy formula.