‘Pretty Filthy’ is a surprisingly wholesome musical about the porn industry

Written By kom nampuldu on Minggu, 08 Februari 2015 | 18.18

The most wholesome musical in town happens to be about porn.

Despite its explicit language (not to mention catchy ditties about things like "Waiting for Wood"), "Pretty Filthy" is winningly guileless — almost downright innocent. It's also frequently hilarious.

Yet the show has an affecting melancholy undertone, too: This is an energetic, can-do musical about trying to make a living in an industry devastated by the Internet. Musicians and journalists everywhere will sympathize.

As with earlier shows such as "In the Footprint" (about the fight over Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards project), the Civilians company researched "Pretty Filthy" by conducting extensive interviews with porn pros, both active and retired. Bess Wohl and Michael Friedman ("Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson") then used the transcripts to craft the book and score, respectively.

Our guide to Hollywood's undressed side is Becky (Alyse Alan Louis), a blond teen who moves from the Midwest to the San Fernando Valley, changes her name to Taylor St. Ives ("like the apricot face scrub") and starts disrobing in front of the camera. Through it all, she never loses her smile and cornfed pluck.

The show is packed with similarly colorful characters, like actor Fredo (John Behlmann) and agent Sam Spiegel, uproariously brought to life by Steve Rosen (think Jon Lovitz).

The former has made the effort to locate the G Spot and translates that knowledge into a prized skill. Typically for the show, which doesn't feature any nudity, director Steve Cosson inventively illustrates Fredo's upbeat anthem "Squirting 101" with projections of gushing fountains.

Veteran Georgina Congress (Luba Mason) has a more blasé attitude, like when she recounts guiding Becky through her first girl/girl scene, between an older woman and her younger self.

"It's like 'Back to the Future,' " Georgina dryly explains, "but you know, not — because they meet and have sex."

"Pretty Filthy" doesn't dwell on porn's exploitative, dehumanizing side. Rather, it offers a nostalgic look at the end of an era it probably idealizes. Still, it's almost enough to make you miss the days of VHS tapes hidden behind curtains in video stores.


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