All Dolled Up
Bobby Spillane's new "comedy" about a cross-dressing gangster is not only short on laughs, it's downright boring.
It's set in New York in the 1960s. The plot revolves around young thief Salvatore (Michael Basile), who's nicknamed "Sally" even before his transvestite tendencies surface. He and his best friend, John (Rocco Parente), are on-the-rise mobsters working for Don Chello (John F. O'Donohue). Sally meets and falls for Patti (Jamie Bonelli), a free-spirited hippie chick who lives in Greenwich Village.
After the two attend a party filled with gay men, lesbians, and cross-dressers, Sally is able to articulate for the first time his secret desire to wear women's clothing and learns that his fetish can actually be accepted by others, including the woman he loves. Such acceptance comes less easily from the mob, however, and the remainder of the play deals with the complications that arise from Sally's dual status as transvestite and wiseguy.
The script includes betrayals, secret government agents, and the Stonewall Riots; the dialogue is often stilted, and the acting is largely overdone. Basile endows Sally with a peppy energy and a winning smile, yet he never delves deeply into the complexities of the character. The remaining cast members all portray "types": the mob boss's two-timing wife Roxanne (Susan Campanaro), the flamboyant gay man Ricky (Matt Gallagher), the dim-witted mobsters Frankie (Tomm Bauer) and Joey (Christo Parenti). There's very little character development here, and several of the actors overplay their stereotyped roles to the point of caricature.