Edgar Scissorhands

If aliens with little knowledge of human beings decided to write a musical about Edgar Allan Poe, but somewhere along the way confused him with one of Tim Burton’s misfits, they couldn’t do much worse than Nevermore: The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe.  To call it bad—and it is atrocious—is almost to miss the point, since this is a jaw-dropping disaster of unimaginable proportions.  I’m not even sure how it exists, it feels more like a joke on 30 Rock: the Edgar Allan Poe musical, where he and his siblings sing, “My name is Henry, / I’m Edgar, / I’m Rosie, / We are the family Poe,” and at thirteen, Edgar (played by the adult Scott Shpeley), cries, “I don’t want to be loved for my tender heart or my gentle disposition!”

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Not Enough Meat, Not Enough Plucking

Director Ross Williams has an nice, inventive touch, and his production of Titus Andronicus is filled with small but effective flourishes.  There is, for example, the large, lit-up target that brandishes the back of the stage, which offers some effective foreshadowing when the newly-minted emperor Saturninus (Vince Gatton) stands in front of it and raises his arms in triumph, unaware that this presents an unmistakable image of coming death.  There is also the feed chute in the corner of the stage—each time a character is killed, someone pulls a cord, releasing corn and giving us an aural reminder of the feral nature of Titus‘ narrative.  And when Lavinia (Kate Lydic) first loses her hands, the long sleeves of her sweater fall to the ground in lieu of blood. Continue reading “Not Enough Meat, Not Enough Plucking”

Fools Rush In

Jack Singer (Rob McClure) has the Jewish mother to end all Jewish mothers.  On her deathbed, Bea (Nancy Opel) asks her son, “How can I know you’ll love me forever, unless I’m sure that you will never get married?” adding that “no other woman could love you like your mommy does.”  Unsurprisingly, this Oedipal incident gives Jack more than the usual amount of commitment problems, and even though he loves his girlfriend Betsy (Brynn O’Malley), he can’t seem to pull the trigger and propose.  But after a rather disastrous incident at Tiffany’s, the two decide to quickly get married in Vegas, which would be the end of the story if it weren’t for Tommy Korman (Tony Danza), a hotshot gambler whose dead wife looked exactly like Betsy.  Tommy tricks Jack into losing fifty-eight thousand dollars in a poker game, but suggests that he can pay off his debt by loaning Betsy to him for the weekend. Continue reading “Fools Rush In”

I Have a Symptom

Death is good business in Moira Buffini’s Dying for It, a “free adaptation” of Nikolai Erdman’s 1928 The Suicide.  Semyon Semyonovich Podeskalnikov (Joey Slotnick) is an out of work Soviet who, somewhat accidentally, decides to kill himself.  The once unpopular schlemiel is now barraged by a horde of obsequious vultures who want to seize upon his upcoming death for their own gain, his inevitable note their Holy Grail: highlights include an alcoholic priest, Father Yelpidy (Peter Maloney), who wants Semyon to attribute his misery to the decline in religiosity, the disgruntled closet classist Aristarkh Dominikovich Grand-Skubik (Robert Stanton), who would rather it take the vilification of intellectualism as its banner, and the writer Viktor Viktorovich (Patch Darragh), who sees himself writing Semyon as the emblem of the Russian character.  In fact, the only people who seem to care about Seymon are his wife, Maria “Masha” Lukianovna (Jeanine Serralles), and his lecherous but good-hearted neighbor, Alexander Petrovich Kalabushkin (C.J. Wilson). Continue reading “I Have a Symptom”