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‘Deep Throat Sex Scandal’ details 1970s obscenity case

Throat1101010_optCrude writing and acting don't make a case for freedom of speech saga

BY MICHAEL SOMMERS
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
OFF BROADWAY REVIEW

An effective play possibly could be derived from the making of the X-rated classic film "Deep Throat" and the resulting freedom of speech controversies that raged across America's social battlefield back in the early and middle 1970s.

"The Deep Throat Sex Scandal" is not that play, unfortunately.

Opening on Sunday at 45 Bleecker Theatre, David Bertolino's "The Deep Throat Sex Scandal" is merely a cartoonish depiction of the people and events surrounding the movie and its impact upon 1970s culture.

Despite generous flashes of flesh, neither the sketchy dramatics nor director Jerry Douglas' hectic production proves sexy in the least. So in spite of its promisingly lurid title, the piece also fails to titillate viewers, let alone enlighten them effectively about the scandal.

Narrated more or less by actor Harry Reems (Malcolm Madera), who was arrested for famously playing doctor with Linda Lovelace (Lori Gardner) in "Deep Throat," Bertolino's script does little justice to the potentially juicy story. Gangsters, an artsy porno-maker, Lovelace's abusive spouse and a government intent on prosecuting obscenity charges figure into the two-act saga, which ends in the courtroom.

Bertolino obviously hopes to make a case for the film's landmark status in society (and provide some sexy ha-has along the way) but his ramshackle playwriting is crude business. So is much of the acting, which scarcely improves matters.

A scrawny, smirking Madera conveys none of Reems' easygoing charm but Gardner demurely portrays Lovelace as a sweet if rather dim-witted soul. The remainder of the eight-member cast works very hard to animate their multiple roles.

Aside from producing a couple of sniggering laughs regarding Nixon-era attitudes towards oral sex, "The Deep Throat Sex Scandal" turns out to be a yawn.

"The Deep Throat Sex Scandal" continues an open-end run at the 45 Bleecker Theatre, 45 Bleecker St., New York. Call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.deepthroattheplay.com.

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