Las Vegas Review-Journal
March 21, 2008

Satire-filled 'Poona' not for the easily offended


Photo by Craig L. Moran.

Damn the decorum, full read ahead.

No mousy modesty here, just unapologetic forthrightness: There's a play opening this weekend, it's at one of Las Vegas' most respected theaters, it deserves a thorough description -- no blushing, no stammering, no timid allowances for decency, propriety or etiquette -- even if it's an X-rated-sounding piece and this is (even at its raciest) a PG-rated paper.

So welcome to our preview of Las Vegas Little Theatre's production of "Poona the ... ." Well, perhaps the complete title is a bit too blunt to just blurt out like that.

You see, playwright Jeff Goode named his titular canine character an "(expletive)dog," the expletive being one of those four-letter words civilized people utter only when they stub their toe, bang their knee or are nearly sideswiped on the Las Vegas Beltway by an oblivious moron who's driving while text messaging.

Starting with the sixth letter of the alphabet, it's remarkably flexible, usable as is, or in inventive permutations as noun, verb and adjective in both sexual and nonsexual contexts; is invoked with alarming frequency in the conversations of vocabulary-challenged people; and, when unavoidable, is mostly expressed in family-friendly publications with letter substitutes -- dashes, asterisks or random shift-key symbols from an upper row of the computer keyboard that make it look like you're being cussed at by Yosemite Sam.

Anyway, the rest of the title is " ... And Other Children's Stories," a facetious addendum (or not, depending on your child-rearing philosophy), and the show often is nicknamed "an adult fairy tale." A funny and biting social commentary -- "an over-the-top romp," as Las Vegas Little Theatre bills it -- it pointedly, often wickedly, needles our wacky modern world, spraying satire at sexual puritanism, runaway consumerism, the numbing/dumbing of America by mass media, technology overload, kids coarsened by animated violence, nuclear Armageddon, racism, political apathy and getting away with murder. Then it really gets rolling.

It's populated by a rogue's gallery of characters that might have been canned from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" for moral turpitude: a snide prince, a frog in need of a Prozac prescription, a talking TV set, a walking VCR (Goode's play predates the DVR/TiVo revolution), an oily, Madison Avenue-mad huckster and a Fairy God ...

Well, maybe we should phrase what follows "Fairy God ..." as an, um, apparatus of the male anatomy, the proportions of which would give Ron Jeremy a serious crisis of confidence and, should it decide to hang around Vegas after this show's run, would become an instant sensation at the next Adult Entertainment Expo and AVN Awards ceremony.

As Poona searches for her Prince Charming, her Fairy God ... you know, teaches her a delightfully addictive game she can play in her, uh ... geez, how to say this? ... a toy box that is ... well, it's ... ah, forget it. You either know where this is headed, or you think Trojans are dudes partying inside a big wooden horse.

We'll concede our failure: We're doomed to a life of decorum. Forgive us, Poona. But we'll be sure to shout your full, unexpurgated name next time we stub a toe.

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at or (702) 383-0256.