Shark attack: 'Swimming in the Shallows'

Play offers comic look at gay, straight, aquatic relationships

  • Paul Wissman as Nick with Caitlyn Joy as Carla Carla and Karin Crighton as Donna in "Swimming in the Shallows."
Paul Wissman as Nick with Caitlyn Joy as Carla Carla and Karin… (Handout )
April 14, 2011|By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

It's the ultimate extension of homophobic predictions of societal destruction if same-sex relationships are sanctioned: a boy-shark romance. That unlikely combination provides the oddest component in Adam Bock's refreshingly quirky comedy "Swimming in the Shallows," the latest offering from the Iron Crow Theatre Company.

The boy in question, Nick, has more hookups than a crooked towing service, but a meaningful relationship, let alone a phone call, never seems to follow the easy sex on the first date. So when Nick sees a confident, handsome shark gliding through the waters at the aquarium where his friend Donna works, it's … well, love at first fin.

Meanwhile, Donna has her hands full trying to navigate a path toward marriage with her significant other, Carla Carla (that double name adds an almost musical note to the play).

And then there's Barb, the middle-aged wife growing apart from her possessions and her well-intentioned husband, Bob. (The setting for the action is Rhode Island, which provides comic mileage from local pronunciations of Bob and Barb.)

For the most part, the work holds together in its own goofy way, with lots of clever dialogue and some larger, telling points made along the way. Iron Crow, dedicated to showcasing voices of the LGBT community, has put together a generally smooth, breezy production, directed by Michele Minnick and designed by Daniel Ettinger.

Joan Weber is especially endearing as nervous Barb. Paul Wissman shows promise as Nick, and Christopher H. Zargarbashi does an assured turn as the Shark. Caitlyn Joy (Carla Carla), Karin Crighton (Donna) and Steve Satta (Bob) round out the cast ably.

Final performances: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St. Tickets are $10-$15. Call 443-468-4837 or go to

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