nytheatre.com review by Martin Denton
June 24, 2005
Chicken Delight, written by John Glines about a dozen years ago and now revived by DJM Productions at their charming new L'il Peach space in Midtown, is a cute, fizzy, little gay sex farce. This means that it's all about a group of silly people racing around foolishly in an effort—never realized—to have sex with somebody; in other words, it's just like any other sex farce except all the characters in it are men. Glines is pretty good at this sort of thing, and so Chicken Delight (the title refers not to food but to a nickname given to young guys by their elders) is loaded with double entendres and outlandish coincidences. It's naughty, occasionally even dirty, but never vulgar.
The setup is this: a helpful fellow named Moose (never seen in the play) has lent his Tribeca loft to two of his friends for a weekend of fun (i.e., illicit) activity. The loft comes equipped with a hunky young houseboy named Harry and his lover, the disapproving chef/dance instructor Jesus. Jesus is the jealous/possessive type and when we first meet him he's fretting about Harry's two ex-lovers, both of whom are supposedly far far away.
The two weekend guests are Splash Gordon, a handsome and famous swimmer with an outsized ego and permanently waterlogged ears, and Brockley Spears, an improbably named, wealthy, effete Southerner. Each has invited a young man to spend the weekend with him; their regular "lovers" are both conveniently visiting sick aunts in Connecticut. If you think that's an unlikely coincidence, well, brace yourself: even unlikelier ones are still to come. This is, remember, a farce.
The young men eventually turn up, neither proving to be as intelligent or inexperienced or well-bred as advertised. Splash's guest is named Neal (leading to a number of jokes mixing up his name with the verb "kneel"; it's that kind of play). Brock's is the even dimmer Randy. You should be able to guess whose lovers—and ex-lovers—they turn out to be.
The fun is in all the wordplay—wicked and often terrible puns, suggestive remarks, and so on—and in the outsized characterizations that Glines provides these fellows. Everything proceeds, lightheartedly and sexily, exactly as you expect. Jokes at just about everybody's expense abound. For example, at one point Randy tries to find some ambient music, and picks up the remote control for an unseen stereo system. He clicks through what amounts to a who's who of gay icons, from Barbra Streisand to Ethel Merman to Judy Garland, before turning the thing off in disgust. Glines knows his target audience.
Dave McCracken is producer, director, and designer of the show. It's a labor of love, and if the pacing isn't always as spot-on tight as it could be, it's a more than credible rendering of the script. The actors' abilities are somewhat variable, ranging from the clearly inexperienced Will Barrios and Brett Parks as Neal and Randy, respectively, to the more expert Christian Sebastian, who steals the show almost every time he appears on stage as the charmingly overbearing (and over-accented) Jesus. Michael Eisenbrown does a fine job as Harry, but Dale Church is hampered by the fact that he's too young (compared to the others on stage) for the role of Brockley Spears. Best of all is Gil Bar-Sela, who is hilarious as the empty-headed but full-of-himself Splash. Bar-Sela's characterization rises above caricature to fully-fleshed out satire, and is a treat to watch.