Pocket's Comedy Sylvia Is A Pleasing Puppy Upper

Theater Caps are bite-sized punch-packing capsule reviews by resident theater critic Elaine Liner. Use them as a reminder -- or a teaser, if you procrastinate -- of her full-length reviews in The Mixmaster's weekly sister.

Playwright A.R. Gurney has written more than 40 plays, but it's a good bet Sylvia makes him the most royalty money. It's a silly, enjoyable play about a talking dog and the humans who love her, and it's a favorite for productions on small stages like the Pocket Sandwich Theatre.

Pocket co-owner and director Rodney Dobbs has staged a fine little production there. The title character is played by pigtailed Cara L. Reid, bouncing with the energy of a love-starved puppy. Dennis G.W. Millegen and Cindee Mayfield play Greg and Kate, the Manhattan couple who take the stray doggy in. He's crazy about the pooch; she's not so sure.

Sylvia explores the quirks of human-to-animal dynamics. It's really the dog that trains its master's behavior, no matter how we'd like to think otherwise.

Actor Ben Bryant deserves extra kibble for his hilarious turn as three different characters: a dog park dude; a snobby society matron; and a gender-uncertain therapist.

This is not a popcorn show at the Pocket, so don't throw anything but kisses at these actors.

Sylvia continues through September 24 at Pocket Sandwich Theatre. Food and beverage service starts at 6:30 p.m. Call 214-821-1860.

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