In this world there are only two tragedies; one is not getting what one wants, the other is getting it. – Oscar Wilde
Calvin Limehouse is about to live a gay fanboy’s dream come true: gay porn star/model Casey Donovan is coming to his house for dinner. Thing is, he lives with his parents, who don’t know he’s gay.
Set in the 1970s in a suburban home in Connecticut, The Cabaret Company’s production of Sky Gilbert’s My Dinner with Casey Donovan – directed by Gilbert and running now at the Theatre Passe Muraille backspace – could easily be called The Education of Calvin Limehouse.
The play opens with a clip from a Casey Donovan movie, projected on the back wall of the playing space and featuring Donovan emerging naked from the water like a god to join the naked man sunning himself on the beach. Calvin (Michael De Rose) then sets up the story for us as he nervously paces in front of a pair of phallus-like shrubs, which are sculpted like twin penises sheathed in condoms, the receptacles poking up nipple-like from the tips. When Casey Donovan (Nathaniel Bacon) arrives, Calvin can barely contain himself. And they are blocks away from his home and early for dinner, so they have ample time to get better acquainted as they stroll around the block. Twice. Once they arrive at Calvin’s house, the shrubbery is parted to reveal the family dining table, set for dinner (with shouts to Sheree Tams for the set and costume design).
Of course, hilarity and drama ensue over – and after – dinner. But you’re going to have to go and see that for yourself.
I can tell you that Gilbert has selected an outstanding cast to tell this story. De Rose is adorkable as the neurotic, sexually repressed fanboy; the boldness that Calvin exhibits in extending the invitation to his idol is tinged with a deep-seated insecurity and lack of maturity. Conversely, Bacon’s stunningly handsome Casey is easy-going, calm and confident, both sexuality and otherwise – but even he has his Achilles heel. Elley-Ray is a treat as Calvin’s mom Rita, a congenial and well-meaning but overprotective mother (today, she’d be referred to as a helicopter mom), her heartache and concern revealed when she shares a lovely, intimate and moving scene with Casey. Ralph Small, as Calvin’s dad Charles, gives us a hard-headed, uptight conservative patriarch who is not immune to the charms of their dinner guest, as he and Casey bond over the selection in his wine cellar.
Yep, that Casey Donovan charms the pants off the entire family. But I will say no more. Go see this play.
My Dinner with Casey Donovan is a sexy, funny and poignant look at a gay fanboy’s dream come true. But, as the saying goes: be careful what you wish for.
My Dinner with Casey Donovan runs at the TPM backspace until March 22. Seating is limited – and last night’s opening was sold out – so advance booking is strongly recommended.