Porn Comes To Broadway With The Performers: My Review
Like sex itself, David West Read's The Performers--about two couples colliding in the adult entertainment arena--is kind of guiltily enjoyable while it lasts, though by the end, you think, "Did I really need to do that?"
Daniel Breaker and Cheyenne Jackson. Photo by Carol Rosegg
There are laughs, with racy jokes mixed into a sort of sitcommy formula, amounting to basically gay camp about straight people.
But like an occasional porn-movie money shot, it doesn't always hit the bullseye.
The story has Adult Film Award nominee Mandrew (Cheyenne Jackson, showing his buff bod from the first scene) and his unhinged porn-star wife, Peeps (Ari Graynor, channeling Jennifer Tilly's voice) reaching a crisis point at the very moment when Mandrew's old high school friend (Daniel Breaker) arrives, with his fiancee (Alicia Silverstone), to write a piece on Mandrew.
As they jointly explore the art of relationships, there are various switcheroos, liberations, and reconciliations, and it all ends up like the very type of boulevard comedy this pretends not to be, what with all the naughty references and genital jokes.
Unfortunately, Mandrew and Peeps are both pretty slow-witted--he thinks the Post is the Times and he'll get a centerfold. She thinks the Times is a TV show.
And when a third porn star is introduced (played by bubbly Jenni Barber), she's a dingbat too!
It would have been more challenging--and accurate--to portray some of the porn stars as smart, crafty intellectuals!
But at least these hole-diggers have heart, and in fact they want nothing more than monogamous marriages and nice children.
The cast is fine, and Henry Winkler is especially sly and funny as Chuck Wood, the elder statesman of the porn-actor world, who's prone to emissions like "The world was my glory hole!"
But despite the chuckles, The Performers tended to remind me of one of the satirical porn titles mentioned in it:
I Ate Chinese and Now I'm Hungry Again.