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Made in Heaven

This new comedy about a pair of conjoined twins is genuinely funny and consistently inventive.

By New York City
Matthew Bondy, Alex Anfanger,
Kevin Thomas Collins and Maia Madison
in Made In Heaven
(© Carol Rosegg)
Matthew Bondy, Alex Anfanger,
Kevin Thomas Collins and Maia Madison
in Made In Heaven
(© Carol Rosegg)
If you think that one show about conjoined twins was all the theater market could bear, think again. Move over Side Show and make way for Made in Heaven, a deliciously dicey sex comedy in which two conjoined brothers share one penis and two different sexual orientations, now at the Soho Playhouse after a summer run at the Midtown International Theatre Festival. Jay Bernzweig's writing is broad, oftentimes vulgar, but it's also genuinely funny and consistently inventive. The result, under Andrew Shaifer's light direction, is 90 minutes of frolicsome fun.

The play begins with brothers Max (Kevin Thomas Collins) and Benjie (Alex Anfanger) waiting for Jessica (Maia Madison), the woman to whom they intend to propose marriage. Max, in particular, is full of joy at the prospect of this relationship working out, while Benjie is quick to point out all of the obvious obstacles. Finally, right before Jessica is to arrive, Benjie decides to come out of the closet. Max is stunned. How in the world could Max not have known? Well, that's part of the comic conceit of the entire piece.

The twist and turns of the plot all center on the conflicting desires of all four characters -- including "gay for pay" hustler Gilbert (Matthew Bondy) -- but the playwright keeps the motor running so smoothly throughout so that each new wrinkle, while perhaps not unexpected -- and perhaps even occasionally contrived -- still manages to be funny. And like a Marx Brothers movie, if you don't laugh at one joke, you'll laugh at another.

Made in Heaven is pointedly silly, but it has a lot of heart and four characters that are all rich in their comic potential. What's more, that comic potential is fully realized by some extremely zesty, even inspired, performances. Anfanger is comically adorable as the gay twin with a winsomely innocent yet comically exaggerated sexual desire. Collins is a wonderfully madcap actor who is out-and-out hilarious at physical comedy. Meanwhile, Madison gets to toss off her own fair share of comic lines with a ferocious quality, and Bondy plays his role with so much comic bravado that he almost steals the show.


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