Playwright Caleb Doyle suffers through deep set writer's block even as his sister Jessie finds success as the assistant to British actor Henry Lewse the openly gay star of a ludicrous Broadway musical As Henry dotes on the handsome but dull witted Toby Vogler Toby pines for Caleb Jessie has her own problems as the love object of director Frank Earp whose floundering career has reduced him to staging children's plays off off off Broadway The secrets and heartaches of these many unfulfilled romances unions and associations unfold during the course of Caleb's bizarre birthday bash where his pistol packin' grandma causes even mayhemThe heavy themes of AIDS sexual addiction and unrequited love are expertly blended into the mix of slick humor and satire Bram skillfully weaves together all the outlandish characters and their even eccentric affairs showing how all of them have a love hate relationship with the theater with each other and with their own creative impulses At turns graceful shrewd and ribald Lives of the Circus Animals is terrific entertainment steeped in the authentic details of theater life This talented author's laugh out loud dialogue burlesque situations and shrewd insight into the vagaries of love are sure to win him an even extensive readership Tom Piccirilli

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