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Theatre Review (LA): Naked Before God by Leo Geter at Inside The Ford

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OMG, a play about the porn business. But it’s a comedy, and/or a story about a highly dysfunctional family, depending on your point of view. The publicity material asks, “What do a porn star, a stripper, and a soldier have in common with a Christian, a Muslim, and a Mormon?”

Developed in the Circle X Writers Group, the play Naked Before God by Leo Geter attempts to answer that question. It’s quite funny and makes some keenly observed remarks about families, the military, religion, hypocrisy, and sex. What it all comes down to is that it is all porn. Porn is pervasive throughout our society. The U.S. Congress is certainly pornographic; many of the politicians are in it only for their own personal satisfaction and the money. The Supreme Court has noted that porn is something we just know when we see it. This play isn’t porn but it sure casts a light on all that is pornographic in our society.

The cast is really very brave. Kristen Burrows (Jennifer Skinner) is a blousy ex-porn star who met her husband on the set. She pushes her son to have a go at gay porn to earn some money. Along the way the whole family gets involved, including the son’s (Morgan McClellan) pregnant wife, the ex-stripper, his newly acquaintanced scene partner (who has a crush on him), the father who has come back from Iraq with a young male lover in hand though he still fancies his ex-wife. Added to the mix is a Christian radio host (William Saylers) who has been seduced by the mom to come and meet the family with the idea of getting the whole lot of them to make a reality show about the adult film industry.

There are plenty of laughs and we even see a little skin, but the points are made if you are paying attention. Leo Geter is the director but also the writer, and it is usually a mistake for a writer to direct his or her own work – a third eye is needed, and it is true here. Some of the scenes seem overwrought. The scenic and the lighting design are both by Brian Sidney Bembridge, who does an excellent job with both. He has created a very versatile set (for a 99-seat theatre) and used creative lighting.

Naked Before God will play at Inside The Ford until April 28.

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