Poona the Fuckdog 

Theater Review

Theatre Vertigo, 306-0870
Through Feb 11

Please. Go back and say those words out loud. Let them slide off your tongue and linger on your lips before dancing away into Nature's wondrous void. Poona. Fuckdog. Poona the Fuckdog. It's like reciting heaven.

Unfortunately, the theatrical event designated by those God-sent words is not nearly so heavenly. It's just pretty funny. I know, I know, believe me, I know--from a name like Poona the Fuckdog one expects philosophical meaning, spiritual transcendence, or at least the definition of what a fuckdog is. But what you'll find if you go see this play, is an enchanted forest full of talking penises and shrubs. You'll also find the Kingdom of Do ("where nobody did," as the narrator helpfully informs us), where television is literally the ruler of the land, and where one can try to stump God for 500 bucks.

If this sounds like it doesn't add up to a lot of sense, you're right. It doesn't. It's basically a string of very loosely connected, very cynical skits about the current political state of America, all seen through the twisted viewing hole of a fairy tale. It's blatant satire, and sometimes it's quite effective, like when the Kingdom of Do elects television as its ruler over a character named Mr. Beer, who actually wanted to try and improve the kingdom through hard work and sacrifice. More often, however, it is heavy-handed, like when God Himself informs us that religion is the cause of all hatred in the world.

The most successful moments are when the characters stop trying to beat us over the head with their social commentaries and just act crazy. Keith Cable as the talking shrub is hilarious, particularly when he delivers a monologue about being upstaged by a wooden crate. And Ritah Parrish's transformation from a lisping rabbit into the Television King shows off some serious comedic acting chops. These characters, and others, are inspired bits of lunacy, and they would have remained fresh had the play not been so long. With no cohesive story to rally around though, the characters can only remain amusing for as long as their gimmicks do, and after two and a half hours these gimmicks begin to get a bit ripe. Yes, even the novelty of a talking penis can begin to fade.

But go see the show. Support Theatre Vertigo and their willingness to take risks for the sake of originality. And if you're disappointed--which I don't think you will be--you will be able to take comfort in the fact that you will have made a lifelong companion: that miraculous three-word phrase. It will be with you for the rest of your days. Like the animal inherent in its poetry, it truly is a man's best friend. Oh, that fuckdog, Poona.

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