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Review: Cheerful if uneven, 'Deep Throat Sex Scandal' mimics film

February 06, 2013|By Charlotte Stoudt
  • Marc Ginsburg, right, portrays Harry Reems in "The Deep Throat Sex Scandal," opposite Bart Tancredi.
Marc Ginsburg, right, portrays Harry Reems in "The Deep Throat Sex… (Ed Krieger )

If you’d like to see some men getting naked to defend the Constitution, “The Deep Throat Sex Scandal,” now at the Zephyr Theatre, is just the ticket. Equal parts parody, courtroom drama and R-rated pep rally, David Bertolino’s '70s docu-romp ends up playing as less than the sum of its parts. Which, just to be clear, are full frontal.

The story of how a $25,000 porn film became a multimillion-dollar box office hit and a culture watershed has been repeatedly told in recent years: There's the terrific documentary “Inside Deep Throat,” the underappreciated “Lovelace: The Rock Opera” by the Go-Go’s Charlotte Caffey and the upcoming Linda Lovelace biopic with Amanda Seyfried.

Bertolino’s play follows the hapless career and astonishing obscenity trial of Linda’s costar Harry Reems. (For starters, Reems wasn’t exactly judged by his peers: No one who had ever seen a porn film was allowed on the jury.)

The curious thing about “Throat” is how much it mirrors the original film: cheerful nudity, uneven acting, cheap sets, ham-fisted storytelling.

That said, Marc Ginsburg brings an appealing directness to Harry; Herschel Savage is surprisingly cogent as canny director Gerry Damiano; and Natasha Charles Parker evokes Lovelace’s odd mix of vulnerability and seduction, even though the script doesn’t give her much to work with. Cameos by celebrities (including some adult film stars) are scheduled throughout the run. This night, Sally Kirkland and Bruce Vilanch made appearances.

If the creators of “Throat” get anything right, it’s their willingness to wonder aloud why America is so freaked out by sex. They put their argument in the flesh, and by the end, you salute the right to bare all.

“The Deep Throat Sex Scandal,” Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays. Ends March 3. $34.99. (800) 838-3006 or www.deepthroattheplay.com. Running time: 2 hours, 25 minutes.

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