Chuck Ellis as Julian and Lisha Brock as Poopay, Arlington's time-traveling dominatrix.
Chuck Ellis as Julian and Lisha Brock as Poopay, Arlington's time-traveling dominatrix.

B.J.'s Play Thing

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, B.J. Cleveland has returned. You can all rest easy now. Settle down. There was nothing to fear after all. We know that he wasn't around for three weeks or so, his name hadn't been printed for a while and nightmares of a possible assassination had been haunting your sleep. But he's back. Don't worry. It'll all be just fine.

Theatre Arlington's artistic director would never go too long without rearing his head in local entertainment news, and that deafening silence heard during his invisible stint between June's Over the River and Through the Woods and today was merely a fluke. This time around he'll be sitting in the director's chair, calling the shots in Communicating Doors, the final production of Theatre Arlington's 2003 season. In the words of Sir Elton John, the bitch is back.

The host of the dearly departed children's show B.J.'s Playhouse has now taken on the work of British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, bringing to the stage a piece that we cannot even begin to describe. But we'll try; don't worry. It's about Poopay, a dominatrix from the future. No, good citizens, we kid you not. The lead character of Communicating Doors is a dominatrix. From the future. Whose name is Poopay. We knew just as little as you did that these crazy hallucinogenic drugs were still floating around the sweet suburb of Arlington, so do not point any fingers at us and ask what we had to do with it. We did not slip anything into Cleveland's herbal tea, nor did we ever--or will ever--pressure him into taking substances that could possibly interfere with his perception of reality. Do not ask us how this happened; we have no idea.


Theatre Arlington presents Communicating Doors August 1 through August 24 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $14 to $16. Theatre Arlington, 305 W. Main St. Call 817-257-7661.

Either way, there's little to nothing we can do about it except sit back and laugh. And we might laugh quite a bit, too. The rest of the story is described as "an intricate, time-traveling, comic thriller about Poopay's involvement in a murder plot that sends her racing back and forth in time through a unique set of hotel doors. As she attempts to rewrite history and prevent an untimely demise for her and two other women, an inventive diversion of laughs and edge-of-your seat excitement ensues." Intricate, time-traveling comic thriller? Got it. Racing back and forth through time through hotel doors? Got that, too. Edge-of-your seat excitement? That is yet to be determined.

Maybe it's supposed to be campy. Maybe it's supposed to go under the heading of "so bad it's good." Maybe you can bet your life savings that we'll be sitting there on opening night, front row center. The chance to see a woman dressed in head-to-toe leather, standing onstage before an audience made up of great aunts and grandmothers is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We must take this chance and run before anyone's logic comes crashing back down to earth and they realize you're not supposed to talk about sex in Arlington.


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