Dirty Girl

Based on the real-life experiences of playwright-performer Ronnie Koenig, a former Playgirl magazine editor-in-chief, this frothy one-act follows "nice" Long Island Jewish girl Dori Richter from the fictional Loverboy magazine's Manhattan offices to steamy photo-shoot locales on her quest to find a woman who's actually aroused by her magazine. Four talented actors -- Corrie Beula, Bridget Harvey, Michael Littner, and Jesse Teeters -- play all the other parts, from the magazine's smarmy male ex-porn-star editor-in-chief and the middle-aged Indian deli guy desperate to pose nude to Dori's horrified mother and a loony, vulva-obsessed female sex therapist. Beula is especially funny as a repressed Midwestern housewife and as the magazine's vapid managing editor, prancing about, flipping her hair, and echoing Reese Witherspoon's Legally Blonde Valley Girl patter.

But as Dori, the petite, adorable Koenig lacks polish and command of comic timing and delivery. It's one thing to be yourself in life; it's another to play a character based on yourself in a heightened version of reality. And her very funny script, which deftly combines dry humor with insightful observations about male and female sexuality and body image, is further undermined by Robert W. McMaster's misguided direction. If Koenig's bizarre, outrageous characters were played straight, the audience would be roaring. Instead, McMaster has the supporting cast do broad caricatures and kitschy lampooning. To make matters worse, in a city teeming with talented, toned young male actors, he has cast one who looks like he hasn't set foot in a gym in months to play various Loverboy pinups and erotic dancers. Posing, preening, dancing, showing off his untoned pecs, and wiggling his less-than-buff buns, Teeters merely looks silly. Program notes say Koenig is working on a Dirty Girl screenplay. If she gets Parker Posey and an experienced director, she could hit pay dirt.

Presented by Horse Trade and Firecracker Productions

at the Kraine Theater, 85 E. Fourth St., NYC.

Jan. 6-27. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.

(212) 868-4444 or www.smarttix.com.