Stuff ‘n’ nonsense at the Wade James

  • Tue Sep 14th, 2010 6:47pm

By Dale Burrows For the Enterprise

More ham, please.

In his program notes, director Martin J. Mackenzie seems to go along with the Broadway reviewer who labeled this one “the intelligent person’s nonsense.” It wants to be, and it is, provided you go the Lady Gaga route — which is to say, pull out all the stops, go for it, no inhibitions.


Curtain up, the sinister, masked and unknown Stage Door Slasher slaughters the maid in the drawing room and stashes her behind the curtains. She pokes a foot out. He jams it back. She sticks a leg out. He pulls her back. Round and round killer and corpse go till he dumps her in the closet and shuts the door.

Scene two, who’s the first person you see? The maid/corpse that won’t stay dead.

Say how, what, where, why, who?

Basically, the Slasher and the maid in the drawing room do their dance the day before show biz folks arrive to audition for the lady of the house who is a patron of theater. They want her to back their new show.

The catch is the show biz folks are shaking in their designer boots when they discover the Slasher is slashing again. So happens, he was slicing and dicing from among their company during their last Broadway show. Yikes!

From there on, it’s people who aren’t who they say they are, false walls, hidden passageways, bodies stacking up and smoke mirrors.

The intelligent part is the way the outrageous unlikelihoods come together. Playwright John Bishop ties them together a la Agatha Christie, Ira Levin, Alan Ayckbourn, John Patrick and Tom Stoppard. The ingenuity involved keeps you thinking.

The nonsense part is the schtick, timing and zingers that zing. Deliver on them, it all works.

Here, think Bob Hope as an up and coming comic. Christian T. Ver’s got the off-the-wall from out of nowhere.

The broad with the bucks is an on-spot Diane Driscoll.

Allyn J. Turner’s got the brogue and the blarney of the Irish actor.

The art-for-art’s-sake director is David Foster being sufficiently unctuous.

You know how producers at parties do the “Dahhling” meet and greet? Vicki Lynn Maxey’s is a hoot.

He’s Ted Jaquith. She’s Juliana Pereira. Together, they are the song-writing team, the swish and the lush, the stereotypes in hysterics.

Brenan Grant and Meagan Castillo, as the all-business cop and the singer-dancer wannabe are the nearest things there are to feet on the ground. Everything else is orbiting out in deep cerebral space.

I like silly. I like meat. For me, I could’ve done with a little more ham.

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