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Off-Off-Broadway Review

For the Love of Christ!

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The problem with being irreverent is that you have to be smart. And if you want to take on a touchy subject, such as AIDS decimating the gay community, you've got to have guts. Unfortunately for writer-composer Ben Knox, his largely unclever low-camp musical "For the Love of Christ!" is neither intelligent enough to be satirical nor ballsy enough to be subversive.

Set in 1979, this bewildering sex farce throws flouncing homos and Bible-beating (and sometimes queer-beating) Christians together in a San Francisco bathhouse. The constant dick jokes and gay gags are all in trivial good fun, until the decidedly unfunny specter of AIDS is tackily unleashed through a messianic Patient Zero. And though the talented cast does the best it can with the cheap material and blandly derivative songs, it isn't enough to keep the monotonous double (and in some cases single) entendres from getting old fast. Lord have mercy, indeed.

Presented by Knoxious Productions and Impulse Theatre as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St., NYC. Aug. 1528. Remaining performances: Fri., Aug. 21, 5 p.m.; Mon., Aug. 24, 3 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 28, 7 p.m. (866) 468-7619 or www.fringenyc.org.



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