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Paulanne Simmons

"Pig Farm" Goes Hog Wild on Some Sacred Sows

"Pig Farm"
Directed by John Rando
Opened June 27, 2006
Tues. thru Sat. 7:30 p.m., matinees Wed., Sat. & Sun. 2 p.m.
No performance July 4, special Sunday performance July 9 at 7:30 p.m.
$56.25-$66.25 (212) 719-1300 or www.roundabouttheatre.org
Closes Sept. 3, 2006
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons June 25, 2006
Katie Finneran in "Pig Farm." Photo by Joan Marcus.


Greg Kotis and John Rando, the creative team behind "Urinetown," have switched from one kind of bathroom activity to another with "Pig Farm," an uproarious farce about the perils of fecal sludge.

Rando directs a cast of four actors, each of whom suits his or her role to a T. John Ellison Conlee is Tom the embattled farmer. Logan Marshall-Green is the farmhand, a delinquent youth out of jail on a work release program. Katie Finneran plays Tina, Tom's unhappy and raunchy wife. And Denis O'Hare is Teddy, the federal agent sent to inspect the farm to make sure Tom has not underreported his pig count and thus put the entire area in danger of fecal pollution.

Heavy stuff. Especially when it turns out that Tina is desperate to have a baby and furious that Tom will not accommodate her; and both Tim and Teddy have a hankering for Tina, who's a pretty hot chick, made horny by her husband's indifference.

"Pig Farm" is told in the hyper-dramatic style of various venerable genre flicks: westerns (think "Johnny Guitar") gangster: (remember "Key Largo"), teen rebel (think James Dean in anything).

Only this time the genre, in the tradition of Woody Allen and Mel Brooks comes complete with sight gags (Tom holding Tina's pocketbook while she berates him for not giving her a baby), verbal ticks ("total tally, Tim for Teddy" or "you don't remember you've forgotten till you remember what you forgot") and the repetition of the same campy dialogue (Tim's recounting of torrid sex with Tina, Tom's proposed speech to Tim).

But film clichés are not all that "Pig Farm" gleefully puts on the chopping block. There's also environmentalists, the corrupt and bullying federal government, American rugged individualism, motherhood and romantic love. What a wonderful combination!

Set designer Scott Pask has place on stage a farmhouse that is both understated and realistic; and lighting designer Brian MacDevitt does a great job creating the "pot-bellied" stormy sky, the fire of the pig roast in the yard outside the house and other effects.

"Pig Farm" is performed by an energetic and athletic cast (the fight scenes, directed by Steve Rankin, are wonderful) with a fine sense of humor and timing. Sometimes one wonders how they keep from breaking out in laughter onstage.

Best yet, this is a play in which the actors work in such perfect synch, every one of the four holding up his part so perfectly it's impossible to select any one for special praise without commending the other actors.

"Pig Farm" is at the Roundabout for a limited run. Don't miss it. But don't be a pig. See it once and give others a chance.

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