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LETTERS TO EDITOR
by Les Gutman
The energy shifts suddenly as Wren is confronted by Demon Baby (Glenn Fleshler). "Confronted" indeed: she meets the gnome-like creature as he sits on her prone body. His influence shifts her mental state, not necessarily for the better. Shortly, we will find her parading around the stage naked, attempting to "seduce" Alan (Gibson Frazier). ("I wanted to seduce you but didn't know how to do it," she tells him.) He squelches her ambitions, announcing he'd prefer her husband.
Briefly, the transition holds out some promise, but Courtney's script instead follows a remarkably ill-focused path that leads nowhere. Enduring the unimaginative set-up has no pay-off, and even the early promise of the Demon Baby is lost in a fog that rivals anything even Londoners have experienced. The only really funny moments in this show are the sight of the Demon Baby (mostly realized effectively by director Ken Rus Schmoll after blackouts), who also contributes the show's only foray into "strangeness". Nothing on display here qualifies as provocative -- by the 60 minute mark, the only thing provoked is tedium.
The greatest disappointment, perhaps, is that one can imagine an interesting play here; unfortunately, Courtney didn't write it, and one can only wonder what development to this process Clubbed Thumb offered. Demon Baby was workshopped twice by the company: in May 2002 as a part of Summerworks '02, and again in September 2002, in its New Play Boot Camp. Why did it never occur to anyone that there was no meaningful, much less interesting, story being told?
On the "up" side, there are some good performances here -- Schreck and Hellman especially, and Fleshler perhaps even more so. Mr. Schmoll's direction makes the production quite attractive (aided enormously by very fine set design by David Evans Morris and lighting design by Garin Marschall) and well paced. Though to no avail.
Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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