The last time I went to a Barksdale production where people walked out, it was the older contingent and because of full frontal male nudity.
Today it was wholesome families and because of crude humor and loads of sexual references ("Wrap your legs around my head and crush it like a grape").
Kudos to Barksdale. I say if you can't stand the heat of comedy, stay out of the theatrical kitchen.
We went to the matinee of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" at the Empire Theater, making for an easy five-block walk from my apartment to our ninth row center seats.
The story of two con men trying to see who can score with a wealthy woman first allowed for lots of physical humor and bawdy talk, but also several local references.
During Scott Wichmann's masterfully-done "Great Big Stuff" rap, he was singing about the things he could afford if only he had money.
"I can finally see a Barksdale show!" he sang to much amusement among the theater-going set.
Later when the seasoned con goes to divide up the world into con territories, he gives the newcomer the lowest locations: China, Iceland, El Salvador...and Goochland. Ouch.
Dialog was funny, often raunchy and quick, so some of the oldsters near me missed a lot of good lines.
You need to stay awake at the opera!
It was six hours!
It was WAGNER!
I don't want to have sex and eat bacon for SIX hours!
Because, as we all know, the barometer by which we measure pleasure in life is having sex and eating bacon. No, really.
But I think it was the references to shaved testicles, genital clamps, KY Jelly, and milkshake enemas that may have caused the happy family next to me to jump ship at intermission, leaving candy wrappers and soda cups strewn in their part of the row they had just vacated.
I could tell when they didn't laugh at seeing Wichmann in boxers with one cheek fully visible, much less at the political jokes, that Mom was not enjoying herself.
Too bad they couldn't just focus on the humor, like the character singing about her heart's desire:
Let me have love unending
Let me look good in shorts
What she said.
I know, it's asking a lot, but it's funny. That's why it's called comedy.