Review: “Perfect Teeth” at Theaterlab

Anthony Piccione

  • New York Theatre Critic

Issues of sexual assault and consent have long been among some of the most urgent issues facing society and culture. In light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the subsequent #MeToo movement, these important issues have only just recently started to get the amount of attention they deserve. Yet interestingly enough, the public discussions surrounding these issues have often focused on heterosexual relationships. While it is certainly right to call out men who inappropriately touch young women, it often seems that a man being raped in prison, for example, isn’t treated with the same level of sympathy, and if anything, is treated as a joke. Yet in Perfect Teeth, one of two new plays by Daniel McCoy currently being presented at Theaterlab, we finally see a vivid example of how sexual assault is an issue that affects men, and not just women.

This hour-long drama tells the story of two young artists in the theatre world, one of whom – Kyle – has gone on to become considerably more successful, in recent years. After meeting for drinks one day, Dylan confronts Kyle over a past drunken incident in which Kyle had performed anal sex on him without proper consent, thus leading to Dylan receiving a significant injury. Over the course of the play, the conversation gets gradually more tense, as the two argue over their different perspectives over what happened that night, ultimately reaching a tragic climax that, as far as this critic is concerned, perfectly demonstrates how unfair life can be, in these situations.

As I watched the play, there were a few moments where I felt some of the dialogue could have been rewritten, to perhaps feel more authentic, and reflective of the reality of the social and legal situations the characters find themselves in. Nonetheless, the story itself is mostly engaging, and is brought to life very effectively by those involved in the production. Staged in a minimalistic fashion at Theaterlab, director David Hilder does a fine job at creating the play’s tense atmosphere without needing much, in terms of set pieces, while both Jose Joaquin Perez and Maxwell Eddy deliver vividly emotional performances in the roles of Dylan and Kyle, respectively.

While not without its flaws, this play does a very fine job, in terms of exploring issues that are highly relevant, and for some theatergoers, perhaps all too relatable. It is bound to be a thought-provoking experience, and the climactic scenes are particularly potent moments that are impossible to keep your eye off of. Consider seeing it during its last few performances this week, and decide for yourself how successful it is at portraying these issues.

“Perfect Teeth” runs at Theaterlab from July 18th-August 12th. For more information, please visit www.perfectpixplays.com.