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Insurgo’s ‘Sex Comedies’ fun, silly

"The Sex Comedies" is a bit of touching nonsense. It’s as much about companionship as it is The Big Nasty.

The Insurgo Theatre has put together five sketches — some by pros, some by locals — that examine man’s relationship to the opposite sex. The situations are alternately pretty, desperate, coarse, exploitative and romantic.

Brandon Jones’ "Shot Buy" (directed by Daneal Doerr) is about a man, played by the powerhouse Jeremy Nino, who looks as if he’s spent his whole privileged life in a singles’ bar. But he needs a new pick-up line. His "I’ll have what she’s having" and "You come here often?" are just not having the effect they once did. Neither is his very direct, very explicit approach. It’s not long before a tolerant, kind woman (Jessica Bernstein) has him saying the dreaded "L" word. Jones shows a knack for moment-to-moment dialogue and understands the power of youthful libido. The play, though, doesn’t really end. It just sort of limps out.

Steven Yockey’s "Every Little Thing" (well-directed by John Beane) is a rant by three high-strung singles (Shane Cullum, Nino, and Mary Catherine Harvey) who describe, in often overlapping dialogue, their frustration in dealing with the Internet, lies and word-games. The rantings are interrupted by a peculiarly peaceful speech by Barbra King, who describes a gentle encounter with an elephant on a rural road in a foreign country. She seems to achieve the joy of an intimate moment that none of the other three aggressive daters have yet managed.

"Jack," by Dave Surratt and directed by John Beane, is perhaps the simplest premise: Jack (the earnest and loony Cullum) describes to his colleagues his physical reaction, in great detail, as he watched Paulette Goddard in a DVD of Charlie Chaplin’s "Modern Times." Cullum acts as if he has just discovered the wonder of his male body for the first time. Beane never pushes for the laugh, and Cullum is a wonder at finding truth in the most outrageous actions. He’s an under-rated actor because he makes it look so easy.

The evening is tied-up nicely by "Woman" (by Gabriel Gentile, directed by Daneal Doerr) about a man (Sam Cramer) who slowly learns he prefers the totality of a woman to a woman’s parts. Those "parts" are ingeniously portrayed by Bean and Doerr’s adult puppets that each highlight the different areas men have been known to favor best.

"The Sex Comedies" ain’t Tolstoy. But it’s rich with the kind of silliness that draws audiences closer by our commonality. Fun stuff.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.

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