by MR Anderson
But, hear me out, it works.
Yes, it’s an eye-catching title. I’ve heard it called “unacceptable,” “a trigger,” and “rude,” but after partaking in the experience that is Steve Got Raped, the shocking bluntness of the title is integral to the show’s story and success.
Steve and Katie are freshly engaged, and freshly pregnant (Katie, not Steve). However, things go awry after a traumatizing event with a stripper at Steve’s bachelor party (I’ll give you one guess). The events that follow test Steve’s friendships, relations, and the very murky definition of male rape in a strikingly honest and mega-comedic piece of mature theater.
Sam Gooley as playwright walks a thin line between satire and disrespect with his dialogue. His honesty in tackling this taboo issue never betrays the audience. Under the three-sheets-to-the-wind, no-holds-barred direction of Melissa Firlit, their combined efforts push the envelope without breaking the seal.
James E. Smith is a heartfelt and sympathetic Steve, who exudes true pain and confusion while he wrestles with his supposed attack. Sarah Moore as the fiancée Katie has great synergy with James, and balances the extremism of a happy couple with the terror of Steve’s potential cheating.
Dan Morrison is best friend Derrick, and his performance is—by far and large—one of the funniest of this year’s New York International Fringe Festival. This “brother-f*cker” hits a perfect 10, pulling out all the stops for a character that makes you want a terrible best friend, too. The mysterious Mara Gannon (as the maybe-attacker, Ariel) is fierce as she is present, and her side of the story really drives the “was this really a rape?” allegation home.
No, Steve Got Raped is not for everyone. But if you’re in for a horribly good time that’ll leave you with questions over scotch, this one’s for you.
Steve Got Raped remaining shows are August 25 and 27 as part of the New York International Fringe Festival in Venue #13: The Players Theatre (115 MacDougal St. @ Minetta Lane).