Reeling review: 'The David Dance'

Sat. September 20, 2014 9:18 AM by Gregg Shapiro

'The David Dance', Sept. 20, 2014, 4:45 p.m., Landmark Century Cinema

Chicago, IL - The dance in the title of the film adaptation of Don Scime's stage play The David Dance (Brave Lad), has more than one meaning. Literally, it comes from the time that David's (playwright Scime who also plays the lead role) thrice-divorced older sister Kate (Antoinette LaVecchia), arranged for a perfect stranger, Chris (the incredible Guy Adkins), to dance with her gay brother at her third wedding. More memorable to Chris and Kate, this introduction plays an important role later in the movie when David and Chris meet again under different circumstances.

The other dancing that David does is more along the lines of the kind of thing someone who isn't comfortable with social interaction might do. For David, it's easy to do, because not only is he a librarian with limited public contact, but he's also a DJ on a gay radio show in Buffalo, New York. Safely hidden away in the stacks or in his booth, he can be anyone he wants to be and he chooses to be Danger Dave on air. This persona allows him to laugh, make jokes, sing, and even challenge a fanatical and hateful Christian talk show host named June (Jordan Baker) to a debate

But all the dancing really does is get in the way of his personal life, including a potential relationship with Chris (who is very into him) or becoming a father-figure to the daughter that single mother Kate plans to adopt from Brazil. As film adaptations of plays go, The David Dance feels stagey, in spite of the fact that the movie has multiple locations, ranging from Buffalo to Brazil. Part of it is the dialogue feels too theatrical. Here's the unexpected surprise. The late Adkins, who passed away in 2010 at 41, pretty much steals every scene in which he appears. His Chris is the opposite of David, at ease in his skin and immediately likeable. It's Adkins' nuanced performance that saves the movie and makes it worth seeing. 

The David Dance, Sept. 20, 2014, 4:45 p.m., Landmark Century Cinema

Reeling: The Chicago International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival opened on Sept. 18 at the Music Box Theater on Southport and runs for a week through Sept. 25. The majority of the Reeling screenings take place at the Landmark Century Cinema in the Century Mall on Clark Street, with others being held at Chicago Filmmakers on Clark St. in Andersonville. Reeling schedule and tickets available at

Related:'s Gregg Shapiro provides a series of reviews of selected titles being screened at Reeling 32: Part One | Part Two | Part Three