Resembling a slick, sophisticated and smart extended Second City sketch, Laura Jacqminís new one-act comedy, with the bizarre, but aptly descriptive title, is fresh, insightful, very funny and sharply produced. Although it concerns a weekend meeting of assorted dentists (a funny premise in itself) audiences will recognize the quirky dynamics that can be found within any interest group or profession. The activities, the accommodations (lots of references to Skokie), the lectures and the licentiousness are all too familiar, whether youíve attended a meeting of the Illinois Theatre Association or the International Union of Auto Workers. All that separates this group from any other professional association are the stark white, freshly starched lab coats and a ubiquitous trail of dental floss.
Often in todayís theatre it feels as if there is nothing new. Almost every production seems to be either a revival, the stage version of a popular movie or a juke box musical whose plot is held together by the collected works of a pop vocal group. However, here is an entertaining new play that is modest in scope, offering a captivating premise, challenging themes, memorable characters (all the actors play several people) and intelligent dialogue and supported by slick, stylish direction.
Director Megan Shuchman has assembled a talented ensemble of six actors whose engaging and sharp delivery hit all the right notes in this world premiere. Collin Geraghty, who resembles a young Steve Carell, commands attention with his strong, insistent characterizations and fine comic timing. Paige Smith brings strength and pathos to his closeted gay dentist, Jerry, and Justin James Farley plays a couple of the hornier, more desperate characters at the convention with honesty and unexpected humor.
But if there is one breakout performer among this talented cast, itís the bewitching Dana Black. Her rich, resonant voice, graceful, sexy demeanor and total commitment (watch the subtle shifts in posture that speak volumes or how a simple glance can level another character with ease) raises artistry to new heights in this production. Blackís synchronized swimming scene with Rakisha Pollard is one of funniest bits of comedy I have ever seen.
Donít wait to schedule your six-month appointment with this group of daffy dentists. In addition to some oral hygiene pointers, you may learn a few lessons about the quirkiness of the human condition. Now, rinse and spit.