In the program for its second summer theater festival, Intiman announced it would address the "four topics a polite person shouldn't discuss at dinner: race, sex, politics, and money." Lysistrata, the Aristophanes play about women organizing a sex strike to get their men to stop warring, is the sex one.

And a sex one it is, with comically engorged genitals (actors wear enormous squirt-gun penises with glowing blue balls), padded breasts and asses, stripteases, and near-rapes. This Lysistrata is raunchy and slapstick, full of curse words and double or triple entendres: "What if they stopped the war 'cause nobody came?" Adapted and directed by Sheila Daniels, it's modernized—the dialogue is in rhyming verse but with contemporary language ("YOLO!"), there are multiple musical numbers set to pop songs, and when protagonist Lysistrata goes to read the "sacred text" from an oracle, it's a text message. Set on a military base in Afghanistan, Lysistrata is also a play within a play, a group of active-duty soldiers putting on the old Greek story as a sort of talent show that is occasionally interrupted by gunfire and explosions.

But all the levels it's working on get muddled and mashed: the old and new language, the costumes partly pieced together from camo pants and squirt guns but also tulle and glitter, the cranked-up-to-11 high jinks of the sex comedy, and the bracing drama of young soldiers in danger. Instead of finding a steady tone, it goes from 100 percent dirty joke to 100 percent devastating violence, like the lumpy result of a poorly mixed cake batter.

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There are moments to enjoy—the women singing the Cranberries song "Zombie," the dance number to Destiny Child's "Independent Woman," and Shontina Vernon as the fierce born leader Lysistrata, rallying the lustful women (some of whom desperately want to sneak out of their fortress to visit their lovers) to their shared goal.

But the overall result needs a lighter touch. The obvious parallel between the endless, pointless Peloponnesian War and the war in Afghanistan, the fascinating equality of the sexes when it comes to, well, sex—both are conceptually interesting, but not when you're being bludgeoned about the face with them. recommended