The Performers - Romance outsizes sex in play about porn awards

By Robert Grandinetti ,

Out of all the award shows that I’ve ever seen, the most bizarre has to be The Adult Video News Awards. Think about it? There’s an actual award for men and women that perform sexual acts in front of the camera throughout the previous year.

David West Read’s hilarious new comedy The Performers, which is making its debut at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre, takes place in Las Vegas on the night of the Adult Film Awards. Lee (Daniel Breaker), a journalist for the New York Post, is sent to interview, Mandrew (Cheyenne Jackson), a leading contender for Best Actor at the awards who also happens to be Lee’s friend from high school. Mandrew’s main competition is porn legend Chuck Wood (Henry Winkler) who’s out to prove that he’s still relevant in the porn industry.

Mandrew’s wife, Peeps (Ari Graynor), is now feuding with her former best friend and fellow performer Sunrise (Jenni Barber) over the fact that Sunrise kissed her husband outside of work. Sara (Alicia Silverstone) is Lee’s fiancé who goes from keeping a level head over Lee’s story to letting it effect how she feels about herself.

Both couples go through a great deal of turmoil before and after the awards. They come close to losing each other, but help from an unexpected source who can bring them back together.

Jackson’s good looks and toned physique are just right for his role. He also gives Mandrew plenty of charm which helps us overlook his dimness and a surprisingly high amount of sensitivity. Breaker is not only a perfect straight man, but also smartly maintains a sense of decency and morals. Winkler brings a sense of fun and exuberance to his role. He also excels at delivering his monologues-it’s a wonder why he hasn’t done Broadway more often.

The actresses equally strike comedic gold. Graynor and Barber are both terrific. The common link in their performances is that you never laugh at them, because of who their characters are, but how they react to their respective situations. I had the pleasure of seeing Silverstone in the 2009 drama “Time Stands Still.” She’s excellent here and reminds us how strong of a comedic actress she is.

Director Evan Cabnet makes his Broadway directorial debut here and is guaranteed to become one of the theater’s top Directors. He shows a total understanding of not only the source material but the rhythm and timing it takes to make a successful comedy.
Read hasn’t just written “the porno play.” He also had created actual characters and not characture with their depth. He also shows an understanding of the complexity of relationships. Read manages to not only shift sex away from the theme of his story, but smoothly puts his focus on communication and love.

I ended up fast forwarding my way through the AVN Awards, because its novelty wore off quickly for me. The Performers on the other hand continually held my interest, because it had more to offer with Read’s perfect balance of raunchiness and heart.

The Performers is now playing at The Longacre Theatre 220 West 48TH street, New York, NY 10036.

For more information and to buy tickets visit The Performers on Broadway

Fun Stuff

 
Trending Across the Web
 

Join Our Newsletter

Popular Threads