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Review: 'The Big D' equal parts comedy and drama in Wilton Manors theater

Oh, you think you know what the “D” is in “The Big D,” the serio-comedy getting a world premiere at the Foundry in Wilton Manors through July 29.

And who could blame you? As soon as the lights come up we see two men enjoying each other’s company — vigorously. Then the couple pad around the bedroom, the sole set, in full-frontal flagrante delicto. And they remain that way for the first few minutes of the play and continue to drop trou, here and there, throughout.

But no, that’s not it. The “big d” in “The Big D” comes later.

No spoilers here. But what we can tell you is that this play by Michael Mizerany follows the romance of two men in that gleeful period of couple-hood when both are reveling in the comfort of it all, but still trying to figure each other out. Chuck Cavery’s (Grant Tambellini) eyes narrowed down to slits as if that focus could somehow plumb the emotions roiling under the surface of Todd Barrett (Gabriel Andrade).

The two want to get married and seem to be settling into each other’s rhythms, but Todd is holding something back. It’s a big something and it threatens to upend everything.

It takes the actors a sizable chunk of the 90-minute, intermission-less running time to lose the self-consciousness that makes the first third of the play a bit stiff in tone, lines coming off one-note and drained of emotional color. Transitions tend to get bulldozed over. Even a few punch lines and running jokes don’t get as aloft as they should because the comic timing is not as finely calibrated as it could be.

Ronnie Larsen’s workmanlike direction keeps “The Big D” moving though. And Mizerany’s script manages to adroitly sidestep maudlin moments, preferring instead crisply streamlined scenes with a few unfortunate well-trod tropes that might make you wonder, “Why are we here?” Sure, the play reveals itself a bit clumsily at times, but it does get there — even if it can’t quite hold the audience firmly in its grasp the whole time.

“The Big D” runs through July 29 at the Foundry, 2308 N. Dixie Highway Wilton Manors (next to the Abyss Theater). Showtimes are 8:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $35 and $50. To order, call 954-826-8790 or go to RonnieLarsen.com.

rhagwood@southflorida.com

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