by Dio Anthony
Andrew Hinderacker’s latest venture, Dirty, takes a growing American family, inserts them into the porn industry and spits them back out. All under roughly two hours. Dirty is in many ways a delicate balance between the moral and the immoral and the ever-changing argument that there may be no such thing as the gray area when it comes to the more questionable paths in life -- like deciding to start a clean, guilt-free porn site for all the closet-freaks of the world.
This is how we meet Matt (Max Lessler), a down-on-his-luck businessman a la Jerry McGuire, who's grown tired of taking orders from shady suits left and right, including Lea Coco’s Terry character, a downright, money-hungry executive type straight out of the Mad Men era. He’s successful, ruthless, but smart. The kind of man Matt wants to be like when he’s not paying too much attention to Terry’s flaws. Providing the sometimes-needed comedic relief is Anna Konkle, in the role of Matt’s pregnant and at times demanding wife Katie. She wants nothing to do with her husband’s less-than-honest business aspirations. That is, until her needs are meant. 90% of proceeds go to victims of sex trafficking. And with this good-hearted but silly idea, they embark on an ill fated, yet money filled ship.
The message in Dirty lies in the take-back nature of the characters. They set out to put out fire with fire. A porn site that only features actresses over the age of 25. No shameful situations and no humiliating or degrading stereotypes. Something you could be proud of. But when push comes to shove and big bucks are involved (shove faster) our heroes begin to take back their promises to themselves and each other, and their original idea and mission begins to fade in the eye of financial security. Dirty takes the American Dream and smears it up a bit just enough to get you thinking.What is it all for? Is it worth it? Et. Cetera.
Leading man Max Lessler enters the stage talking and doesn’t stop doing so till the very end, and it’s a good thing. His dialogue so detailed and brought to life by what must’ve been a grueling process of stage blocking in the weeks prior to opening night. Lessler brings Matt’s family troubles and deep worries to life with his lovable demeanor and sporadic neurosis.
In complete contrast, there is Lea Coco’s sexy, asshole character. Played with so much authenticity that you can’t help but want him and hate him all at the same time. And not to be forgotten, entering the very exciting and fun second act, Zuleyka Silver serves us a memorable performance as Mikayla, a breath of fresh air that leaves Matt, Katie and Terry grasping for more.
Dirty is now playing at the Zephyr Theatre in West Hollywood now through December 21.
Photo credits: Erica Brown