"Pig Tale," the current offering from Island City Stage in residence at Empire Stage, is a cute and frothy comedy that explores the boundaries to which love can take us.
Chris Weikel's play, subtitled "An Urban Faerie Story," is about a commitment-phobic gay man, Johnny, played by Jobe Anderson, who brings home a regular long-time trick, Dave, played by Angel Perez, for an evening of fun and sexual frolicking.
Things take a bizarre turn in the middle of the proceedings when Dave morphs into a pig. Through many twists and turns and visits from Johnny's stoner friend Kyle, played by O'Neil Delaphena, and a Cuban drag queen named Mama Truth, expertly played by Larry Buzzeo, the play is resolved when Johnny's love and self-sacrifice helps Dave morph back into a man.
The plot of this Faerie Story is reminiscent of Ionesco's absurdist comedy, "Rhinocéros," and Kafka's "Metamorphosis," only less deep than either of those works. As a script, it doesn't really present the audience with any new ideas -- it is there simply to entertain and it accomplishes its job.
The stand out performer of the evening is Angel Perez who manages to convey a full range of emotions using nothing but pig squeals and facial expressions. His energy level, charisma, and sincerity keep the audience focused on his character's plight.
Buzzeo gives an excellent performance as Mama Truth and tackles three smaller male roles coming in and out of drag through the course of the evening.
Anderson's portrayal of the commitment-shy Johnny is charming and likeable. He earns the audience's sympathy even when his character is doing rather unsympathetic things, and his smile lights up the stage.
The one performance that didn't fit was Delaphena's Kyle. Delaphena chose to play this role in the style of Dumb Dumb from the cartoon Fat Albert. While his impersonation of that immortal cartoon character was spot on, it clashed with the realism of the other actor's performances, including that of Perez's pig/man, and seemed out of place.
While not as tight or as polished as Island City Stage's previous offering, "Twentieth Century Way," this show is still an enjoyable evening of gay themed theater that is well acted. It will make you smile, it will make you laugh, and it will make you say 'aww' many times throughout the evening.
"Pig Tale" runs through Feb. 2 at Empire Stage, 1140 North Flagler Drive in Fort Lauderdale. For info and tickets, call 954-678-1496 or visit www.empirestage.com.