Like a Dog on Linoleum
Written and performed by Leslie Jordan. Dir. David Galligan. Bailiwick Arts Center.
Be advised: This one-man "tour de force" plays best to its target audience: men of a certain age who remember Stonewalland have lost "a phone book of friends" to the so-called gay plague. But even those outside this demographic will find it hard to resist Jordan's sly autobiographical jaunt through life as "the gayest man I know." Jordan has celebrity appeal, playing a recurring role on TV's Will & Grace (and, less gloriously, with an appearance in the spectacularly bad George Lopez feature film, Ski Patrol). But it's not his brushes with celluloid fame that sell this show. If anything, Dog demonstrates how sadly underused Jordan has been as a second-banana player in Hollywood. It also suggests that his true home is an intimate stage in a live theater.
In this monologue-cum-slumber-party, Jordan achieves something rare: a connection with the audience that feels so authentic and spontaneous it's almost jarring when he cues lights and music. Recounting his early baton-twirling attempts in Chattanooga, Tennessee, his stint working on a thoroughbred ranch run by refugees from a Tennessee Williams play and even a brief stay in Los Angeles County Jail (where he kept inmates at bay with George Lopez stories), Jordan sashays about the stage with elfin vigor and his tongue tucked neatly in cheek. But this is comedy with a heart, which broadens the appeal for those who didn't spend the '80s in the discotheques of West Hollywood.—Kay Daly