Confession: I saw the audition notices for Smack ‘Em in the Snout, written and directed by Rufus Drawlings, a few months ago and I thought to myself, “Wow, what a strange concept for a show!” Now, having survived the experience, I can say, “Wow, what a strange concept for a show!”- but for real this time. Honestly, as utterly absurd as a show about a delusional Baltimore massage therapist who believes his clients are raccoons trying to steal his gravy is, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this one.
David Carrington plays Humdinger Diggs. Outside of his office is a mural that shows the painted tombstone of the former Humdinger Diggs (no relation to the current Humdinger) who passed away ages ago. After a treatment session with the gorgeous stripper Cherry Tilt, played here by Bunny F*ckin Vicious, it’s clear that Humdinger is losing his grip on reality. This is the point in the play where I wonder why I’m watching a puppet chicken um… “service” one Humdinger Diggs. Apparently, this chicken is named Prunes and has been in a relationship with Humdinger for seven years. They are married. Don’t question it.
Anyway, landlord Starla Chalice is played here by Vanessa Quinlivan. She turns in a spunky and believable performance. Jen Sizer is Louie Scunge, a fry cook who is recruited by stripper Cherry to reform Humdinger after he has an episode during her session. To add some additional flavor, there is an aging, racist waitress with a Baltimore accent named Sylvia Tonsil, whom Lisa Wiseman portrays. Tracey Chadderdon plays… well, you need to see it to find out. Trust me.
One thing I was extremely curious about is the music that they played before curtain and at intermission. There are two composers credited in the program: Francis Dempster and Matt Brown. I was impressed by the amount of gravy and raccoon themed music either commissioned or found for this work. Well done.
As deeply invested as it is in its “madness and rabies” plotline that scampers through the narrative like a fever dream, or in this case like a raccoon stealing gravy, Smack ‘Em in the Snout is an interesting and absurdist take on modern life that is not to be missed. It is unapologetically queer; delivering a meaty and unique humor that will appeal to locals and strangers to the Baltimore scene alike. Overall, Smack ‘Em in the Snout gets two tiny raccoon thumbs up from me, even though I swore to myself I would avoid lewd puppets after I was traumatized by Avenue Q over ten years ago. This one was well worth the flashback.
Running Time: One hour, with a 10-minute intermission.
Smack ‘Em in the Snout plays through November 12, 2017, at the DCAC Top – 401 North Howard Street, in Baltimore, MD. Tickets and Charm City Fringe Festival buttons may be purchased at Fringe HQ (Le Mondo, 406 N Howard Street), the venue, or online.
Baltimore’s historic Lexington Market is joining DC Metro Theater Arts in support of our coverage of the Charm City Fringe Festival. The Market closes at 6 PM on weekdays and is closed Sundays, but we recommend that Fringe-goers stop by on Saturday to grab lunch and take a look around, in addition to checking out the local bands which play from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM.