Say you’re an average-Joe sort of gay man. Suddenly a vision of male
perfection appears before you and asks you out on a date.  Wonder of
wonders this hunk of hunks wants YOU!  Say, then, that you happen to notice
a tiny tattoo just where his forehead meets his hairline, a tiny tattoo of the
number 666, aka “the number of the beast.” What if this perfect new
boyfriend of yours just happened to be the son of Satan? What if, in fact, he
was Satan himself, evil incarnate with a six pack!?  Would you just dump him
and return to your perfect-in-every-way-but-just-too-sweet (sort of) boyfriend?  
Or would you keep on walking on the wild side, knowing that you might just be
heading down a path towards … ETERNAL DAMNATION?

This is the dilemma faced by our hero in Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s devilish new
comedy, Say You Love Satan, now getting its Los Angeles premiere.

Gay everyman Andrew is spending a boring night at the laundromat when he
notices a gorgeous black-haired stranger in the room.  The stranger suddently
and without warning rips off his tight t-shirt revealing a body of sculpted
perfection and starts to work out, only inches away from Andrew’s face.  Not
only is this ideal specimen of male beauty the hottest guy Andrew has ever
seen, he’s also a fan of Dostoyevsky, Andrew’s all-time favorite novelist, and
has read The Brothers Karamazov and even The Possessed … in the original
Russian! “You wanna go dancing,” asks the stranger, whose name is Jack. Is
there anyone out there who believes that Andrew will refuse? 

Andrew’s best girlfriend Bernadette is not one bit happy about all this. First of
all, Andrew has the best (almost) boyfriend a man could wish for?  (Jerrod is an
MD who, besides devoting his life to research, also saves babies’ lives by doing
volunteer work holding tots who have been deprived of a parent’s touch.) 
Secondly, how fair is it that Andrew should meet Mr. Perfect in a laundromat
when Bernadette herself has tried just about every dating site/service
available, and still come up with zip?

Back to that tiny little 666 on Jack’s forehead. Isn’t it a bit suspicious that his
DVD collection is made up entirely of movies like Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen 1,
2, 3, & 4, The Exorcist 1, 2, 3, & 4, and others of a similarly Satanic nature?  And
what about that limp that Jack develops at sunrise?  Does he have some sort
of problem being around daylight?

Playwright Aguirre-Sacasa, who also wrote the similarly paranormally themed
The Mystery Plays, is adept at combining the humorous and the supernatural.  
Say You Love Satan is a clever reworking of the Faust legend, though in this
case it just might be Andrew’s body the Man In Red is after and not his soul.  
Aguirre-Sacasa’s script is full of funny lines like:
“Are you Russian?” “No, just sullen.”
“There’s a special section of hell reserved for people who write Disney musicals.”

Director Brian Shnipper keeps things rolling swiftly (at a brisk 90 minutes the play
could do without the 10-minute intermission) and has assembled a very good

Doug Sutherland is perfect as Andrew, a nice gay guy who could stand to lose
a couple pounds and visit the gym more often and is therefore astounded at
the attention Jack pays him. Sutherland, who was previously seen in more
serious fare (Eurydice and (coincidentally) The Brothers Karamazov) shows real
comic flare here.  

Elias Gallegos is perfectly gorgeous as Jack, Amber Flamminio is sexy, wry, and
funny as Bernadette, and Eric Jorgenson is well cast as Jerrod, handsome to a
fault but just too nice for someone whose animal urges make him want to take
a walk on the wild side. 

Billy Briggs makes a welcome return to the stage following his winning
performances in Love! Valour! Compassion! and Judy at the Stonewall. Briggs is
all gushing fandom as a club bouncer in awe over meeting Drew Barrymore. 
Later, he ups the hunk factor in a sexy turn as Raphael, Jack’s divine opposite.

Finally, stealing scenes left and right, is Drew Droege, doing a FABULOUS take
on gay flamboyance as Chad, Andrew’s ex. A role which in less skilled hands
could be merely stereotypical or even offensive becomes delightful and
endearing in Droege’s. Hearing Chad rejoice to Andrew that “I just got cast
as Perchik in Fiddler!” and then snap “I can’t help it if you feel threatened by
my talent!” (when Chad is just about the last choice that anyone would cast
as the student Perchik) is hilarious indeed. Droege also scores briefly as Martin,
Bernadette’s Druidic ex-boyfriend, leaves adorning his curly blond locks.

Director Shnipper designed the simple but effective set, which features
hundreds of magazine pages of hunky men surrounding a large black and
white portrait of Dostoyevsky himself. Brandon Baruch has created a devilish
lighting design, and Kimberly Zambrow’s sound design incorporates throbbing
club tunes by composer Brian Benison.

Though hardly Shakespeare, Say You Love Satan is nonetheless an
entertaining comedy which should please the mostly gay male audience
which it is bound to attract.  In fact, there are enough laughs to entertain
audiences of all persuasions.

Attic Theatre & Film Center, 5429 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles.

–Steven Stanley
January 20, 2008

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