Spending 75 minutes with Carol (Kathleen Mazzotta, aka Leena) and Diane (Clare Wren) Feelgood as they work over the Workaday brothers, Bo (Jason Reed) and Will (Kirk Ward), is a lesson in just how sexless overt sex can be. Playwright-director Michael Sargent has instilled some intriguing insight into this cartoonish tale of the premier sluts of Steeltown, Ind., but the humor is decidedly overwhelmed by the rampant on-stage humping and in-your-face nudity.

Spending 75 minutes with Carol (Kathleen Mazzotta, aka Leena) and Diane (Clare Wren) Feelgood as they work over the Workaday brothers, Bo (Jason Reed) and Will (Kirk Ward), is a lesson in just how sexless overt sex can be. Playwright-director Michael Sargent has instilled some intriguing insight into this cartoonish tale of the premier sluts of Steeltown, Ind., but the humor is decidedly overwhelmed by the rampant on-stage humping and in-your-face nudity.

Sargent, who is scripting such TV projects as “The Hardy Men” and “Goosebumps,” keeps a fast-paced, vaudeville-like tone to this evening of lowdown comedy, flailing genitalia and enthusiastic limb-grinding that would have been better served by a greater emphasis on the implied social satire and a less overt examination of the crotch. On the plus side, the original songs of Don Preston (with lyrics by Sargent) do much to sustain the intended satirical tone of this piece.

Set in 1989, former town tramp/international porn star/ mental patient/alcoholic Carol is now under the watchful supervision of younger sister Diane, a less ambitious trollop who is making a desperate stab at respectability by inviting the redneck Workaday brothers over for dinner. The ensuing evening of sexual burlesque features such highlights as bored Carol’s Playboy bunny-clad performance of her famous masturbation number and the Workaday brothers’ nude wrestling match that is not up to the standard set by Oliver Reed and Alan Bates (D.H. Law-rence’s “Women In Love”).

Despite a limited emotional range, Mazzotta exudes an appealingly fragile presence as Carol, who offers an ongoing discourse on her life of sexual degradation that is occasionally fascinating in its tranquil pride of accomplishment. After performing for the two lowlifes she comments sadly, “Once you have masturbated for 200, there is no going back.” Wren projects more angst than personality as the envious, man-hungry Diane. But Reed and Ward are outstanding as the Workaday brothers, whose sleazy journey through life make the denizens of “Fargo” seem upper class.

Providing a thoroughly workable setting for this evening of four-play are the set and lighting designs of Erik Hanson and Anne Militello, respectively.

Steeltown

The Actors' Gang El Centro Space; 99 seats; $12 top

Production

The Actors' Gang presents a play in one act, written and directed by Michael Sargent. Opened June 15, 1998; reviewed June 17; runs until July 23.

Cast

Carol Feelgood - Kathleen Mazzotta (aka Leena) Diane Feelgood - Clare Wren Bo Workaday - Jason Reed Will Workaday - Kirk Ward
Producers are Amanda Copeland, Jason Reed. Original music composed and performed by Don Preston; choreographer, Sargent; scenic design, Erik Hanson; lighting design, Anne Militello; costume design, Salvatore Salamone. Running time: 1 HOUR, 15 MIN.

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