Follow the fluorescent yellow paint on the floor through a dark, winding corridor, and you’ll find yourself immersed in the ethos of the secretive gay bars of the 1970s. A few lamps flash on and off from the ceiling, their light pooling onto the dance-floor stage, while Michael Jackson and friends pout through the speakers. Director/author Sean Kelly’s new “absurdist gay porn dance pop musical” is skit-ish, improvisational-esque, and histrionically out of line. “Stanley in the Name of Love” will keep your mouth ajar for the entire ninety minutes, in joy, wonderment and dry heaves.
Blissfully irreverent and totally un-PC, there is a character or a situation guaranteed to grind the girdle of every audience member. Steve Love’s Stanley lisps so hard that the end of his tongue must be sprained, and we can only hope his lower jaw will return to a relaxed position by Christmas. He sashays and simpers, yet somehow comes out smelling like a hero, if a little heavy on the Chanel No. 5. As porn star Rod Fullalove, Michael Peters delivers several nearly Shakespearian monologues about his need to be anally objectified, forevermore. As Stanley’s “hag” Harriet, Christina Boucher wears erect warts all over her body, and Carol Burnett’s charwoman mop on her head.
The most successful conceit of this glorious hot mess is the Greek-chorus trio of gay angels. Luke Michael Grimes, Jeff Meyer and Christopher Tuttle lip-synch, sing, dance, spend most of their time at the gym, and are so nearly naked that the spandex and gauze they sport is irrelevant; all three go to different churches. As the queenly king of his own porn empire, Chicago Arbiter of Camp David Cerda struts and slithers, winks and withers, and turns every line into a one-act play.
So if you’re feeling even a little gaylish and can’t afford your online porn this month, stop by Stanley’s Place. Did I mention the HUGE wooden penises? (Aaron Hunt)
The New Colony at The Den Theatre, 1333 North Milwaukee, (773)413-0862, thenewcolony.org, $20-$25. Through August 29.