Darrell W. Cox has a big dick.
This is the main thing I took away from Profile's excellent and critically-lauded production of Tracy Letts' Killer Joe. Mr. Cox is no pushover, and that's due to the size and girth of his penis.
He's obviously extremely self-confident and powerful and virile, and oh was I reminded of that again and again with his mad dog bug nuts portrayal of titular Killer Joe Cooper, a cop on the edge!
But, (Tracy) let's go back to the beginning. Killer Joe is the story of the worst family of white trash fuckups that ever existed. The dad is a fat beer-swilling ineffectual pig married to his 2nd wife, who goes out of her way to redefine the word "cumdumpster." The son is a loser who is over his head in debt to drug dealing rapists, and the daughter is clearly in need of some severe Good Will Hunting style counseling.
The son busts his way into the father's squalid trailer (good, dirty, shitty set) and asks for money. This is also after being treated to the stepmother's 70s bush on display for a good 3 minutes. As soon as I understood what I was looking at, I realized what I was in for.
"Oh," I thought out loud, until my wife kicked me, and then I continued thinking with my inside brains. "This is a show that is meant to shock me. I will see nudity and violence and depraved behavior, all in the name of art. But, actually, while this show is very entertaining and the performances are all pretty good, this is just a Red Shoe Diaries. This is comparable to a film that I will watch at 3 am on Showtime this weekend, and it will do the same things."
Which it did. Back on stage, the son tells the fat dad (resplendent in tighty-whiteys and nothing else...control yourself ladies!) that he's heard of a guy named Killer Joe Cooper, a local detective who also murders people for money. "Let's hire him to kill mom for her insurance money," he says, instantly giving the heist plan from the Hughes Brothers' Dead Presidents a run for Worst Idea Ever Stated Out Loud.
So, Killer Joe shows up, and ends up busting in on the daughter, Dottie (Claire Wellin, in a ephemeral (flowy and billowing) performance). He takes a BIG shine to Dottie, and when the stupid son says he doesn't have the money to pay Joe for the murder...he decides he'll take Dottie as his retainer.
So then the hicks make their family member fuck Killer Joe so he'll murder the ex-wife of the fat dad so they can get the insurance money to save the idiot son from the inbred drug dealers he's in hock to for about 6 large. Killer Joe runs in at the top of the second act with a semi-erect penis and a gun (symbolism) which also made me realize, "Oh shit...he had to jerk his dick off a little during intermission to get that effect. Well, this certainly isn't the 1st time I've been in a theater when someone is masturbating, and it sure won't be the last."
I was so titillated by this point that I had to put my jacket over my lap.
Things, of course, go from bad to worse and Darrell Cox starts chewing up the scenery so hard the floor was about to give way (and this thing runs until April 11th...better get your foundation inspected, Profiles!) and then the show ends with a blood bath and a line that literally makes you go "Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm."
All in all, this was an entertaining evening. I liked the performances and Darrell W. Cox' Killer Joe is a classic case of an actor not giving a shit about anything, which I can completely appreciate. But, let's not make much more of this story than what it is: an exploitation shock-piece written in the early 90s by a guy who was trying to get noticed. And he did. I think the next company that should tackle Killer Joe is either CityLit, Hell in a Handbag, or P.S. 34.
-Eric Roach, Anderson Lawfer