Handle with care

Kitchen Dog Theatre treats Porcelain roughly, but doesn't drop it

Director David Irving clearly possesses the energy and enthusiasm to mount a top-drawer, in-your-face melodrama of sexual obsession. As evidenced by the production notes in this play's program, he's fully aware of the delicious tension that exists between so-called "elitist" art forms and public acceptance, which itself suggests he's a budding artist prepared to confront the world at large with its own hypocrisies.

And with the decision to helm Chay Yew's iconoclastic character study, Irving pledges his troth to innovation at the expense of a few hypocrisies long considered sacred by the theater community. That he can interweave such raw elements into a forceful statement that is almost filmic in its intensity testifies to an impressive mastery of techniques. His efforts remind us, in an age of visual overkill, why live theater is still the most brutal and immediate of confessions. He almost succeeds with Porcelain, but is continually burdened by the sluggishness of the performers. Considering that some of Dallas' best live actors reside in the Kitchen Dog stable, this is a most unexpected liability.

Porcelain runs through August 4. For more information call 871-

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