At one point in "The Well of Horniness," a character pulls a gun on another and says, "Don't try anything funny. Not that that's a danger in this show."
The line lands a little too close to home in Iron Crow Theatre's production of this lesbian-centric send-up of a noir murder caper, delivered in the form of a radio play. (The title, of course, plays on Radclyffe Hall's 1928 novel "The Well of Loneliness.")
The hour-long piece by performance artist and writer Holly Hughes has a promising hook involving a "Sapphic sleuth" and an assortment of characters with rampant libidos. But the humor in this 1983 work is piled on with a heavy touch, more clunky than campy.
One recurring bit involves everyone onstage (and off) to scream at the very mention of the play's title -- and that means lots and lots of times. The result soon becomes more of an irritant than a dose of humor, turning the piece into "The Wail of Horniness."
Other things click nicely, especially spoofs of commercials, but the whole thing ultimately feels like an over-extended skit peppered with forced double entendres and effortful titillation. Such a piece would require extra panache from everyone involved to lift the material up.
Although the Iron Crow cast, directed by Julianne Franz, gets into the spirit, there's a lot of let's-put-on-a-show here. A much sharper delivery of the play's winks and nods would help. Still, there are rewards, mostly from the colorful performances by Elizabeth Scollan as the chief suspect and Andrea Bush as the narrator.
And the parody of noir dialogue does have its payoffs. My favorite exchange: "I'm a wanted woman in seven sates." "Make it eight, baby. You're wanted by me in the state I'm in."