My notes from opening night: “Funny lime slicing.” “Pretty awkward. Is it supposed to be this way?” “Why do gay men like country music?” “Okay, they are officially screwing with us.”
Love Song to Miss Kitty is a gay country music inspired dance play, written by Patrick DiBattista and Anne Laffoon, with impressive tunes by David Pramik and Ben Camp.
Biggest jerk in the world “Big” (David Carter) wants to steal a gay country western bar (Miss Kitty’s) from the women who raised him, Elaine (Bettina Stap) and Tina (Rae Ryan), turn it into a dance boutique, and show off his most impressive, um, “asset,” to everyone, everything, and anything.
It takes a lot of rehearsing to pull off appearing this under-rehearsed. A pair of cast members dancing to “The Singer’s” (Kathleen Reilly, who seems like she’s in the wrong play) campy intro sets the tone. Producer LaGoDi isn’t trying too hard, but proclaims, “What we lack in talent we make up for with goodwill, giddy energy, and grit.” Despite the awkwardness (more on that later), the acting from every cast member is top-notch.
Chilled out, carefree, hippy-dippy, and unabashed, Stap’s characterization Elaine is stellar. As her lover, Ryan is bold, sassy, and unhinged. The bane of their existence, Carter, oozes dominance and sexual charisma, and his current boyfriend Dana (Don Michael Mendoza) is part bashful, part adorable, part pitiful.
Love Song to Miss Kitty
by Patrick DiBattista and Elizabeth Laffoon
at Lab II – Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Details and tickets
Self-described as “brainy, ballsy, irreverent, profane, and prone to fits of laughter,” Director Michael Brassfield creates a unique blend of realism, heart, and awkwardness. Love Song is sweet but abrasive, hokey but sharp and snarky. Often shocking, but never in ways that aren’t relatable.
An ambiguous message and under-rehearsed feel make me wonder: are we laughing at them, or are they laughing at us? Are we laughing together? What’s the point? Shock value? Realism? Heart? Satire? Fun?
Real life can be awkward, weird and random, so maybe theatre should be too. Real life is under-rehearsed. Props to the production if that’s the point. Even more props if it isn’t! Either way: Love Song is worth seeing.