Big tease

Wet Willie Loves Pyro flirts with brilliance

When he presumably shifts to the adult Dalton, chronically late on the rent of a cheap apartment, he transforms a leaky air-conditioner unit into a poetic obsession reminiscent of Poe's The Raven. In James' account, one man is driven mad by the discordant notes struck by two different drips. They sing a similar prophecy of chaos for the world--a trickle from this man's air conditioner will build to a torrent and destroy everything.

Even when he bemoans his skills at cruising and maintaining relationships, Dalton James harmonizes smoothly with almost everyone's insecurities about dating. You don't want to dismiss him as just another guy who needs to get laid, because his heartbreak is too scarily familiar. To put it broadly, I think Dalton James would benefit from less Laurie Anderson and more Spalding Gray. He spins a potent saga with poetry and occasional searing pitilessness ("If you let me go, I promise to miss you"); many of his poetic descriptions, like Pyro tracing a capital "P" in the knotty barroom surface, resonate like a bell ring. His poetry and acting are better than his songwriting and choreography, but he manages to carve an effective, sometimes brilliant romance using all four. If James can just learn to be a bit more selective with his material, a tad more disciplined in his presentation, he will set the world on fire.

Wet Willie Loves Pyro runs through December 14. Call 522-9646.

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