The play is basically a day in the life of a Times Square peep show. The play begins in the morning with the arrival of the dancers and ends late at night when they turn off the lights and go home.
The set is an actual peep show with sex booths made to swivel around so the audience can see what goes on behind the closed doors. Its a very visual piece but its also a character study of the people involved in the world of peep shows.
Cast: 5 men 7 women
AMEER, Peep Show owner, Middle Eastern
JENNIFER, a dancer, single mother, has a son at home
RHONDA, a dancer, "big" personality
SHERRY, a dancer on drugs
DEIDRE, a new girl looking for work
MIKE, married man who frequents the Peep Shows
KATHERINE, wife of Mike
BRADLEY, Mikes best friend, also visits Peep Shows
SUSAN, wife of Bradley
PHILIP, a regual customer of Jennifers
JANET, a cross-dressing customer
SHANE, an abusive customer
Off-Broadway - NYC 1998
NEW YORK TIMES
April 14, 1998, Tuesday
By LAWRENCE VAN GELDER
Like those XXX-designated movies that wrap their feverish quest for titillation in the cool veneer of sociology, ''Ronnie Larsen's Peep Show'' mingles raunch and research.
And thanks to its flawless cast and the smooth direction of Mr. Larsen, his 90-minute intermissionless excursion behind the scenes of peep parlors that beckon in places like midtown Manhattan adds up to a good time. The characters in the show at Actors' Playhouse are engaging; the humor is winning; the conflicts are genuine, and the music lively. Partial nudity, uninhibited language and sexual scenes, simulated and sanitized to a degree but leaving little to the imagination, seem unlikely to please the blue-nosed as ''Peep Show'' goes behind the brightly lighted signs to introduce its audience to the women who work behind the glass partitions of the 25-cent booths, the manager of the place and the dark-suited businessmen who patronize it.
In introducing the attractive, loving wives of two of the businessmen, ''Peep Show'' asks why men like Mike (Josh Aaron McCabe) and his colleague and pal, Bradley (Mark T. Leneker), repeatedly patronize the place. But the true focus of the evening is the women who work the peep show, and its expatriate Pakistani manager, Ameer (Steve Hunneshagen). The willing workers are Rhonda (Deborah Berman), a good-humored fleshy lesbian who attracts sadomasochists; Sherry (Pia Glenn), a black woman succumbing to her craving for heroin, and Jennifer (Joanna Keylock), a pretty young woman who got pregnant at 14 and is happy that her earnings enable her to support her 8-year-old son.
Along the way, the audience meets Deidre (Eliza Pryor Nagel), the Alice in Wonderland innocent who begins work at the peep show; Katherine (Laura Frenzer) and Susan (Cloud Michaels), the wives of Mike and Bradley, and three of the businessmen who are peep-show regulars. Under their suits, one is a cross-dresser; another, a tough guy who favors chains and pierced nipples, and the third a boyish fellow who prefers vinyl and boasts of his sexual conquests.
As writer and director, Mr. Larsen, whose previous work includes ''Making Porn,'' a 1996 comedy about the gay porn film industry, is ably abetted by the scenic design of Gerard MacMillan, the lighting of Brian Aldous and the costumes of Bosco DuChamp. All bring to their work a sensitivity to reality and an air of wit and style that matches the playwright's.
As its characters go about their work and play out their fantasies, ''Peep Show'' is without a dull moment until Ameer tidies up the place and closes it down for the night.