'Tail! Spin!': EW review
Tail! Spin!—or perhaps Tail! Spin!‘s lawyer—has the good sense to display this sign in the lobby of Off Broadway’s Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project: ”WARNING: Every single word you will hear was uttered, written, tweeted, texted or sung by the actual person in question. (So don’t blame us.)”
Blame, if you must, playwright Mario Correa (co-host of the afternoon News & Notes show on EW Radio on SiriusXM), for putting a fresh spin on longtime late-night punchlines Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Mark Sanford and Anthony Weiner. Even political junkies who lapped up every seedy detail of their headline-making scandals will be shocked to discover (or remember) some of the things these knuckleheads said, wrote, tweeted, texted or sang.
If you need a refresher: Rep. Mark Foley (played by comic chameleon Arnie Burton) had a fondness for underage congressional pages that eventually forced him out of office—and out of the closet. Sen. Larry Craig (Sean Dugan) watched his career go, ahem, down the toilet after an arrest in an airport men’s room. Gov. Mark Sanford (Tom Galantich, who also does a mean Matt Lauer) mysteriously went ”hiking the Appalachian Trail” only to reappear and admit, much to his wife and family’s chagrin, that he’d fallen in love with a woman in Argentina. And Rep. Anthony Weiner (a slightly manic Nate Smith) became a cautionary tale about the dangers of sexting—not to mention sending crotch shots to random constituents via Twitter.
Though Tail! Spin! is built around male politicians, the slick, 80-minute sketch-comedy-style show is the perfect vehicle for SNL alum Rachel Dratch, who gets to play, among other characters, assorted wronged wives and trashy scandal-stirrers. When she dons oversize dark sunglasses as Sanford’s lover, or a tiara and sash as former Miss Germany Petra Levin—a.k.a. Foley’s beard—one can’t help wishing she’d had access to a few more props and accessories. It can be tough distinguishing between Weiner’s stripper, Weiner’s blackjack dealer and Weiner’s porn star. Of course, as Barbara Walters, Dratch needs nothing but her eyes, bugged out and barely blinking, and a slight lisp. Her one-on-one with Jenny Sanford—Dratch also plays Sanford—is better than Walters’ original.
Tail! Spin! is currently scheduled only through November 30, but that surely won’t be its end. (In fact, this isn’t even its beginning; the show premiered at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival.) As long as we have elected officials and social media, we will have sex scandals and public humiliations. Correa could keep updating his show until…well, until audiences tire of poking fun at politicians. Let me know when that happens, okay? B+
(Tickets: TailSpinShow.com or 866-811-4111)