Porn gambit accepted

The Lecher Defense

By Andrew Joffe
Directed by Paul Singleton and Nicole Golden
Horse Trade Theater Group Production
HA! Comedy Fest 2003
The Red Room
85 East 4th Street 3rd fl. (between 2nd and 3rd Aves.)
Equity showcase (closes Feb. 7)
Review by Jade Esteban Estrada

What do real New Yorkers want? Sex and laughs, of course. Delivering to the insatiable city once again was the Horse Trade Theater production of The Lecher Defense, currently running at the Red Room in the East Village. If you are tired of sitting at home watching TV, this show beats any episode of Law and Order.

Paul Singleton is a happy pornographer "wrongly" accused of corrupting society with his films. Nicole Golden plays the public defender who despises him but then later falls under his spell, once he figures out that reading the U.S. Constitution turns her on.

With research that includes watching porn videos, it’s not a mystery what happens in the script; however, the elevated level of comedic timing made for fresh laughs and impressive bits.

Singleton, whose work includes sketches on The Conan O’ Brian Show and a slew of soap operas, is right at home in his character, who appears to be a leading man physically but is only a little boy inside having fun making "art films." He has toiled over each groan and grind before walking on the set and sits through each viewing with a director’s pride. Ah, the American Dream.

Golden boasts a strong background in theatrical comedy, and watching her battle it out onstage with Singleton was thrilling to watch.

The writing is quick, and the chemistry between the two comedians made the lines seem funnier than they actually are. Joffe seems to understand his audiences and aims to impress them with each passing scene.

Directed by the two lead actors, the 35-minute piece flew by like a Wednesday-night prime-time comedy. Both actors seemed extremely capable of the modern style of TV sitcom comedy, and the only thing missing was the commercials.

Eric Vetter made an appearance as the cop who comes to take Singleton away after the court finds him guilty.

Sound design by Chris Vasquez gave the added dash of spice that made the audience feel as though they were really watching television. The costuming was cleverly mundane and versatile.

In an effort to keep up with the short attention spans of the current TV generation, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more shows presented with the power and length of their small screen rivals. The Lecher Defense is an excellent model for this new alternative in entertainment.

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Sets: 2
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 2

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Copyright 2003 Jade Esteban Estrada