The Little Dog Laughed follows the adventures of Mitchell Green, a movie star who could hit it big if it weren't for one teensy-weensy problem. His agent, Diane, can't seem to keep him in the closet. Trying to help him navigate Hollywood's choppy waters, the devilish Diane is doing all she can to keep Mitchell away from the cute rent boy who's caught his eye and the rent boy's girlfriend. Wait! The rent boy has a girlfriend???
'LITTLE DOG' Full of Laughs and Insights
The Portland Press Herald by Steve Feeney, 9/24/2009 (excerpts)
The play concerns an actor who may be on the brink of his big break when he falls for a male prostitute, or "rent boy." The actor's flamboyant agent doesn't mind him having a little fun, but warns against any public displays that might undermine a big Hollywood deal in the works.
Though it took her a few minutes to find just the right tone in last Friday's performance (her voice seemed a little tight), Denise Poirier is the local actress made for the role of the agent.
Once she got rolling, she made the absolute most of her fast-talking character and the wonderfully manipulative and sardonic lines the author has given her.
Cutting open, with surgical precision, her client's fantasies of being able to be both openly gay and a mega-star, Poirier's Diane was full of herself, and her hilariously cynical wisdom was usually dead-on.
Good Theater veteran Paul Drinan plays the actor Mitchell with all the appropriate vanities to go along with just a hint of true feeling for his lover Alex, played by Ian Carlsen.
Both actors handle some rather intimate and emotionally revealing scenes with unbridled intensity.
Carlsen, seen often on local stages in recent seasons, is particularly believable as the young man with a tough past that he'd like to forget.
Further complicating, but ultimately helping to resolve, the story is Alex's friend and occasional lover Ellen, played by relative newcomer to the stage Casey Turner. Turner showed a real comedic talent that ought to win her many roles down the road.
And it is a future in the business that ultimately hangs in the balance in "Little Dog." Poirier's agent, of course, manages to rescue it through an ingenious scheme that caps a fun and thought-provoking night at the theater.
As some wiseguy once said, "All the world's a stage."
Hollywood heels: A dream cast in Good Theater's ‘Little Dog’
The Portland Phoenix by Megan Grumbling 9/23/2009 (excerpts)
Perhaps the most important thing to be said about this Little Dog, a play that's almost entirely character-driven, is that Allen has cherry-picked a dream cast. Who but Poirier to portray the imperious, caustic, and wickedly glib Diane? Drinan's male-model looks and Everyman affability give Mitch sympathetic charm, and Carlsen's endearing sensuality, as the man who rouses Mitch's finer feelings, is positively radiant. Finally, Turner is not just deliciously acerbic as the stylishly tarted-up Westchester brat Ellen -- she's also adept at suggesting the hurt that spurs her jabs.
Though it's in the snide insider snark of Diane and Ellen that Beane's writing is best (the script sometimes feels a bit too mushy when Alex and Mitch venture into the softer, often more vague language of affection), Carlsen and Drinan do a remarkable job making the romance glow. The candor and pleasure they bring to the men's infatuation, and the contrast they create against so much affectation elsewhere, is beautiful and intoxicating. As Mitch shyly warms to the gamine hustler in his hotel room, Drinan grows becomingly boyish, even rosy; he grins, rocks, nods adorably with his chin. And as for Alex: Frankly, I could spend two and half hours watching Carlsen watch paint dry. His physical charisma never fails to astound me afresh; in this show, he brings to his poise a tenderness and a receptivity that make Mitch's puppy-dogging entirely understandable. And when, in the play's hottest scene, Alex and Mitch urgently reach for each other and let (all!) their clothes fall away, Carlsen and Drinan convey not just a convincing and very watchable lust, but also -- and even more impressively -- genuine affection.
Mitch – Paul Drinan
Diane – Denise Poirier
Alex – Ian Carlsen
Ellen – Casey Turner
Director – Brian P. Allen
Set Design – Craig Robinson
Lighting Design – Jamie Grant
Production Stage Manager – Joshua Hurd
Tech Director – Stephen Underwood
Assistant Tech Director – Craig Robinson
Costumes – Brian P. Allen
* Member Actors' Equity Association