Thursday, October 27, 2005
Ok, Olympia's hysterical, over-bearing, and delightful to watch - - a true "gem".... but oh, how dark the comedy goes... Really, borderline disturbing! Seems to be a pattern on Broadway this fall (ala Naked Girl on the Appian Way).
Technically, I thought the play was well executed - although Olympia needs to brush up on her lines in a few places... I'm sure that will come with a few more performances before they open. The only other noticeable element was the clever, yet painfully slow set transition from Living Room to Bedroom and back again. I liked the music and lighting effect - but it really needs to speed up. Kudos to the choice of subtle music playing at the bookends of each act.
The deep love and even deeper hatred only a normal, yet warped mother and daughter could share - - this is pretty much the premise of the play. If you thought your family was disfunctional - just wander on over to "A Mother, A Daughter, and a Gun" and I'm sure you'll leave feeling like you grew up on Walton's Mountain!!
Friday, October 14, 2005
Most importantly - my friend Dennis Larkin (the star of the show as far as i'm concerned) was a scene stealing "character" in every sense of the word. He actually played 4 if I counted correctly.
Let's just leave it this way - If City of Angels comes back to Broadway - I'm guessing with enough money behind the staging and the right actors and ensemble - it would be a huge hit (once again).
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Paxton Whitehead had impeccable timing - he's a comedic gem! Clea Lewis was perky and funny - and also had a vocal affectation similar to The Nanny (Fran Dresher) or Jaaaaaanice (from "Friends") , but used it sparingly (so as not to annoy you as much as the aforementioned characters do). Deborah Rush barreled on and off the stage as the over-the-top, larger-than-life, glam-wife. Michele Enos has mastered the consummate drunk (two times in a row now - she just played the consummate young drunk wife in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf"). Everyone else was just... well... there.
What was missing? A cohesive plot. All I saw was three mildly funny vignettes with a bit of physical commedy and a few laughs with nothing but the same people that tied them all together. There was no "real story". No "catch". No "gotcha". No "Ah-Ha!"
After the third one - i started to think... Run... Don't Walk... (home, that is)!
Saturday, October 8, 2005
Seems that your buddy, Tyler Maynard got the better end of the stick! He, too, jumped the Alter Boyz ensemble smash hit to take the leading roll in a less-well-known off broadway production. The difference? A well written, significantly better scored new musical - with a Brazilian beat and some meat on its bones!
Make sure you read the program beforehand, unless you're Brazilian or at least a Brazilian history buff. Once you get the basic (and odd) premise down, it's all about love - in this case the love between two brothers - or half brothers, to be exact. Not a brand new concept, but its certainly unique - especially with the added twist of the Brazilian folklore.
Dolphins, Portals, Slaves, Pirates, two mothers, and two sons - both with green eyes - all in one heck of an enjoyable show in the Rain Forest. If nothing else, you'll leave Miracle Brothers having enjoyed the good looking, scantily-clad cast and tapping your your toes to the funky Brazilian beats.
Friday, October 7, 2005
I don't think you could have written a story about a more dysfunctional family with so many social taboos to be revealed over the course of 100 minutes (can you say "sit-com"?). Richard Thomas, as the father, seems to have predictably brought an adult John Boy Walton to the stage - the brilliant, talented, liberal, stuck-to-his-convictions writer. The only difference here is that he is successful and lives in a large house in the Hamptons! Jill Clayburgh, the mother, is the neurotic, at times overbearing and in-denial mother who certainly got plenty of laughs. The 3 adopted children - a neurotic, bi-sexual, Korean librarian in the suburbs, a WASP-y (and gorgeous) dumb jock (Matthew Morrison - "Light in the Piazza"), and an intelligent, educated, well spoken Dominican girl - all in their 20's - all completely different- seemed to complete the very mis-shapen circle known as the Lapin Family!
The actors, much like the family and the two off-beat neighbors - were stiff and uncomfortable in their own shoes. Was that a purposeful instruction from the director (Doug Hughs) to cause you to draw that parallel - or just bad ensemble acting? Through the periodic laughter - I'll leave that decision to you.
** Now - I really didn't read Ben Brantley's review (much more elloquent than mine) before I published this - - but I thought you might like to read what a true professional actually published just yestarday!!
Monday, October 3, 2005
In an amazingly small performance space on a large stage, one immediately notices the vertical dimension of the set - Probably intentional - as it also seemed to parallel the new dimension of the characters - Not to mention the use of the vertical space in the performance itself. Who would have thought a black coffin and stainless steel ladder would be so functional?!
Lighting - well, the flashlights were annoying at times, but unique nonetheless. And of course, the blood red lights and the piercing whistle ubiquitously signaled another client's demise in the infamous barber's chair.
West 49th just might be renamed Fleet Street this fall. Run and get your tickets today before it's "too late"!