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November. It's a few days before the election, and Charles Smith, the sitting president, is hoping for a second term. The trouble is, his poll numbers are in the toilet, he's intensely incompetent, and he has no money for advertising. But he does have a kind of coarse, stupid venality, lots of energy, no conscience and a strong instinct for self-preservation. As the play opens, Smith is more interested in whether his wife can keep the Oval Office couch than in the fact that Iran has just launched a nuclear strike. He peppers his conversations with homophobic and xenophobic comments and makes several casual references to the Piggyplane, which flies anyone he decides to classify as a terrorist to torture and death in a secret Bulgarian prison. In addition to Smith's struggle to remain in power, the plot deals with his lesbian speechwriter's desire to marry her partner, and her belief that Smith can and should perform the ceremony. Playwright David Mamet almost always seems to be mocking his own characters, and this play's roster is particularly one-dimensional and farcical. November wants to be robust, H.L. Mencken-tinged, plague-on-all-your-political-houses-level satire, but it's too small-minded and thin a piece of work for that. Still, there's plenty of clever, funny dialogue here, and the many echoes of the Bush presidency rock the theater with laughter. Presented by the Avenue Theater through November 22, 417 East 17th Avenue, 303-321-5925, www.avenuetheater.com. Reviewed October 23.

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