Off-Off-Broadway Review: “Pucker Up and Blow” at FringeNYC 2016 at the Player’s Theatre

Off-Off-Broadway Review: “Pucker Up and Blow” at FringeNYC 2016 at The Player’s Theatre (Closed Tuesday August 23, 2016)
Written by Daniel Reitz
Directed by Paul Schnee
Reviewed by Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited

There is really nothing fresh in the new play “Pucker Up and Blow” by Daniel Reitz, being presented as part of the N.Y. International Fringe Festival. It is vulgar, exploitive, offensive, contains full frontal nudity and is a play within a play, mirroring the play being performed. So what’s new? It has certainly all been seen and done before, on stage, in film, on television and nowadays on one’s cell phone. To set the record straight, I did not find the language or the content disturbing. However, what was unsettling, was the reaction of the audience and their choice to laugh at vulgar, racist, immoral situations that are currently seditious crimes in are present social climate.

The plot centers around David, a children’s theater actor from the Midwest, who arrives in New York to seek a successful career in the theater. When his aspirations are achieved and he is cast in a new Broadway show, written by a noted inflammatory playwright, he is challenged with the decision of sacrificing his self-worth and dignity in return for fame and fortune. The subplots of deception, infidelity, power, racism and revenge, are valid but are insipid.

Kudos to the nudity scene which is not gratuitous, providing a peak to the dramatic arc, and is pivotal to the script, mostly resulting from the brilliant performance by Will Dagger as David. Mr. Reitz has penned a provocative script, but when considering our country’s present turbulent state of affairs, it comes to mind that this production may fuel the fires of desensitization rather than assist in extinguishing them. Take a look for yourself but be warned it is not for the theater goer who is faint of heart and easily offended by sexual content and vulgarity.