Clapping in [Hand]Cuffs!

Reviewed by Ashley Hutchinson

controlIn the last ten years, the dominatrix image has been gaining popularity in modern pop-culture. The dominatrix provides a cathartic submissive experience to the victim in which her prisoner is no longer in control of their faculties. This loss of control in turn frees the mind of the dominatrix’s prey. In the two-person one act show written and directed by Kevin Clancy, “Controlling Interest,” an unnamed man, played by Nic Anthony Calabro, seeks out this phenomenon.

Upon entering the room where he would presumably have intercourse with an irritable dominatrix played by Amber Bloom, Calabro appears ironically surprised when the dominatrix begins to take control of the situation. Bloom’s lines are entirely made up of orders and demands, lending to a very confused yet intrigued Calabro, and an appropriate lexicon for a dominatrix. Calabro’s reasons for becoming patron to this particular service is stated early on, when he confides that the demands for him to take charge of his hectic life are weighing him down considerably, however, Calabro’s laid-back slang and easygoing tone hardly seem to indicate a stressful lifestyle. Bloom’s character then goes on to disclose her story of getting into the business by tying Calabro up and forcing him to listen to the story of her formative high school years. This classic tale of teenage angst and woe seems rather predictable, until Bloom confesses that to become beautiful, she had to make a deal with the devil detailing that she would only be skinny if she ate human hearts; yet another example of the demand for modern women to be thin coming with a frustrating and rather torturous price.

When Bloom takes out a knife the situation becomes more serious, Calabro’s hopes and expectations for how the evening would go seem to be entirely dashed. Clancy’s lighthearted script has the potential for glib satire, the premise a clever and quirky tale only a tad hindered by Bloom’s unnatural periodic stutters in delivery and Calabro’s slightly predictable character choices. All in all, a charming story with only a few bumps along the way: nothing a good ‘whipping’ into shape can’t fix.

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