Nothing Special Productions’ ‘My Kinda Town’ needs less dildo, more bromance


Ok, let’s just get this out of the way: Brian Blankenship’s play, My Kinda Town (which is receiving its world premiere by Nothing Special Productions), simply needs work.

But there’s potential.

It starts off as an Odd Couple-esque comedy set in Chicago about two best friends — Tony (Joe Bianco), a struggling musical theatre actor, and Drew (Brian Davenport), a down-on-his-luck writer — who bicker, belittle, and, ultimately, lean on each other for support. Bianco and Davenport have perfect chemistry; their scenes together demonstrate moments of comedic gold. And when Tony’s overbearing-yet-well-meaning mother (Joanna Riopelle) drops in for an unexpected visit, the setup is there for the taking.

But then all this artificial wacky nonsense hijacks the thing. In particular, the set of events that concludes the overlong first act — which involves a man inexplicably dressed in pantyhose while getting flogged by a giant dildo — is simply preposterous, even for a wannabe farce. And, without giving too much away (if I haven’t already), the reaction by the main characters to a major event (someone dies; there I said it) is so selfishly subdued, it nearly undermines any emotional investment I had in them.

At intermission you’re left wondering: how the hell will this show ever regain its footing?

But, remarkably, it eventually does, and by the last few scenes the play that I wanted to see comes back into focus.

Overall, I wish I could forget all the interior clutter and focus on the play’s core bromance between Tony and Drew. We don’t need giant rubber dongs when we have two gifted performers in Bianco and Davenport who can mine a laugh with a simple exchange.

Also, this was my first visit to The Den Theatre — what a cool space.

“My Kinda Town” plays through March 17 at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee More info here >;

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