Tail! Spin! OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

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  • NY TIMES

  • DAILY NEWS

  • TM

  • VULTURE

  • HR

Opening Night:
October 1, 2014
Closing:
January 4, 2015

Theater: Culture Project / 45 Bleecker St, New York, New York, 10002

Synopsis: 

Politics is dirty – but politicians are dirtier. The truth is laid hysterically bare in Tail! Spin!, a wildly inventive new comedy drawn verbatim from the leaked e-mails, raunchy texts and tell-tale tweets that brought down politicians Anthony ("I Was Hacked") Weiner, Mark ("Appalachian Trail") Sanford, Larry ("Wide Stance") Craig, and Mark ("Underage Page") Foley. Using only the actual words of the disgraced politicians, their paramours, and the skeptical media they tried so hard to spin, Tail! Spin! winningly weaves an intricate, overlapping narrative of the power of sex--and the sex lives of the powerful. Created by NPR contributor Mario Correa and directed by Tony®-nominee Dan Kenechtges (Lysistrata Jones, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Tail! Spin! features a cast of five led by former SNL star Rachel Dratch, as the "Wives, Tails, Beards and Barbara Walters.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Tail! Spin!

    Tripped Up By Libidos And Hubris Rachel Dratch in ‘Tail! Spin!,’ a Political Comedy of Errors

    Charles Isherwood

    October 2, 2014: No sex please, you’re politicians. Or if you must, just hold the hypocrisy. Well, I can dream, can’t I? In Tail! Spin!, a clever comedy revisiting hanky-panky-in-high-office scandals, we are reminded how frequently sexual misbehavior and political posturing have clashed, to mortifying effect, in the lives of elected American officials in recent years. Drawing exclusively on the public record of news conferences, confessional television interviews, emails, tweets and resignation speeches of the four men involved — yes, all men, surprise! — the playwright Mario Correa and the director Dan Knechtges have concocted a play that turns these unseemly stories into mordantly funny burlesque. The production, which opened at the Lynn Redgrave Theater on Wednesday, comes trimmed in mock-patriotic trappings that accentuate the contrast between the, ahem, dignity of office and the luridness of the scandals. A sturdy wooden lectern is a central prop, and a giant bald eagle insignia, looking strangely lascivious, leers from the backdrop. The five actors, who include the Saturday Night Live alumna Rachel Dratch, play several roles each, with the four male performers each taking on one of the celebrated miscreants. (Ms. Dratch plays “wives, tails, beards and Barbara Walters.”)

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF Tail! Spin!

    Politicians who are in touch with the people get a hilarious flaying in comedy starring Rachel Dratch, Sean Dugan and Tom Galantich

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    October 1, 2014: The right rhetoric can propel politicians to the top. The wrong words — i.e., “I’m a fairly wide guy” and “I need to highlight my package” — can send pols into a Tail! Spin! Playwright Mario Correa is a former congressional aide and lobbyist. He chooses the image of a dizzying down-spiral for the name of his sly comedy, which features Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch and four terrific actors. The show was seen in 2012 at the New York International Fringe Festival, and opened Wednesday Off-Broadway. Directed by Dan Knechtges (Lysistrata Jones), the show now boasts snazzier production values. But the conceit remains exactly the same. The script, tweaked since Fringe, is constructed from verbatim speeches, press conferences, interviews and boneheaded texts and e-mails from four sleazy pols. Not all scandals are created equal in the hilarity department. So this party balloon of a show deflates now and then over the course of its 75 minutes. But the cast rocks steady throughout.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Tail! Spin!

    Four recent political sex scandals explode onto the stage with cartoonish panache

    Zachary Stewart

    October 1, 2014: The Lynn Redgrave Theater is set up for a presidential debate. Four wooden chairs sit behind a lectern. The Declaration of Independence and the Stars and Stripes are projected on an upstage wall. A deep red carpet blankets the thrust stage. A giant bald eagle statue with six-pack abs presides above. This is the soberly patriotic settling in which Mario Correa's delightfully irreverent Tail! Spin! comes to life. A sold-out hit of the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival, Tail! Spin! returns for an off-Broadway run with a cast of super-talented comedians. Four politicians of recent infamy take the stage: Anthony Weiner (Nate Smith), Larry Craig (Sean Dugan), Mark Foley (Arnie Burton), and Mark Sanford (Tom Galantich). "Meet your elected leaders," the projection above informs us. "This is what they actually said." Correa draws his text completely from their public statements and leaked private correspondence. These real quotes are presented in classic news-media style: completely out of context and repeated gratuitously, lest you forget.

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF Tail! Spin!

    In Tail! Spin!, the Straight Lines Are the Funniest

    Jesse Green

    October 1, 2014: Tail! Spin! describes itself as a political comedy, and though it features politicians and is often very funny, I’m not sure the phrase really applies. “Political comedy” suggests something that’s fundamentally about government and ultimately happy, neither of which is the case in Mario Correa’s cleverly constructed sound-bite mash-up of recent sex scandals. You might wonder whether fact-based political comedy can even exist now, when governance is little more than psychopathology and the whole thing is just plain sad. As it has ever been? Perhaps, but thanks to social media, elected officials’ extramarital affairs, solicitations, underage come-ons, and general lechery have become more public and peculiar than ever. Drama can’t really cover the territory, because these stories don't happen in a coherent framework of time and space. Satire is almost impossible, because the events meant to be satirized are already so extreme — which is part of the reason Saturday Night Live has grown so lame. Correa’s solution may be the only viable one: the invention of a genre you might as well call documentary stand-up. He and the director, Dan Knechtges, take pains to point out that every word of Tail! Spin! was actually spoken (or texted, or tweeted, or posted on Facebook, or otherwise) by the characters who deliver them here. And that’s nearly all that’s spoken. After a brief introduction in which our four subjects chorally take the oath of office, we meet them individually in 15-minute chapters: Sen. Larry (“Wide Stance”) Craig, Rep. Anthony (“Dick Pic”) Weiner, Rep. Mark (“Congressional Page”) Foley, and Gov. Mark (“Appalachian Trail”) Sanford. One by one, on a red, white, and blue stage that looks like the setting for a televised debate, they come forward to relive their astonishingly stupid sex stories and their pathetic attempts at exculpation.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Tail! Spin!

    Literal dirty politics at their funniest

    Frank Scheck

    October 1, 2014: Thanks to the scandals engendered by certain sleazy politicians, the previously innocuous phrases "wide stance" and "hiking the Appalachian Trail" have taken on a decidedly sordid connotation. Hilariously exploiting the faux pas of such real-life politicos as former Idaho Senator Larry Craig, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, former Florida Representative Mark Foley and the unfortunately named Anthony Weiner, Tail! Spin! hoists its subjects on their own verbal petards. Previously seen a couple of years back at the New York International Fringe Festival, the show has now returned for a commercial Off-Broadway engagement with several of its original performers, including the priceless Rachel Dratch of Saturday Night Live fame. It was created by Mario Correa, a former congressional aide and lobbyist who clearly knows the territory well. The piece is wittily staged by Dan Knechtges; it consists entirely of actual e-mails, text messages, IMs, press conferences, tweets and interviews, edited and presented for maximum comic effect. Thus we see Craig (Sean Dugan) haplessly explaining, "I'm a fairly wide guy," about his infamous wandering foot incident in a Minneapolis airport bathroom stall, as his wife (Dratch) comments, "I asked myself if I missed something somewhere."

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