Tag Archives: Christina Groom
Creatures with the kind of quick wicked wit you only wish you had, the kind who rarely let pass the opportunity for a pithy exit line, populate Rich Orloff’s Veronica’s Position in Island City Stage’s thoroughly entertaining production.
Put aside your expectations that the musical Freaky Friday is going to be yet another manipulative Disney raid on its popular film titles, designed primarily for those who fondly recall one of three cinematic versions. Instead, Slow Burn Theatre Company has delivered a thoroughly enchanting evening, one of most polished and downright fun productions it has offered in recent years.
No one could accuse the cast of Shorts Gone Wild 6 of being low energy. They spend the production’s interstitial moments cartwheeling, performing splits, engaging in slapdash chicken dances, telling jokes, winking through bawdy double entendres. But most of the plays are less memorable than their spirited introductions.
Shorts Gone Wild 5, co-produced by City Theatre with Island City Stage, follows the same entertaining pattern eliciting guffaws, chuckles and a few choked back sniffles with risque and luight blue material. The acting and direction keeps improving year after year and those elements rescue scripts less deftly written. But this edition feels different for an intriguing reason.
When Topher Payne’s Perfect Arrangement bowed in 2013, the satirical indictment of homophobia, hypocrisy and a half-dozen other themes was a witty and insightful commentary. In the context of last week’s election, Island City Stage’s production is a terrifying reminder of the dangers of navigating a repressive culture through submissive accommodation.
Political satire is like the finest champagne – delectable at the time but going flat with age. But in the meantime, as Shorts Gone Wild 4 (subtitled Decision 2016: It’s Gonna Be Yuuuuuge!) underscores, what a terrific way to blow off angst over today’s polarized landscape.
But with one significant caveat, An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein at the Vanguard lands most of the ten quirky gems of satirical and somewhat blue comedy with a skill, energy and polish missing from many local anthologies of 10 or 15-minute playlets.
2015 produced a wild variety of snapshots to paste in the theatrical scrapbooks: a male Dolly Levi, a homicidal dimwit slicing carrots, a kidnapper forcing her captives to learn nonsense, a tsunami engulfing a Japanese village, a green-gunked survivor of toxic sludge singing love songs to his blind librarian girlfriend. You know, just another year for regional theater in South Florida.
Any production of Gypsy that spotlights Ann Marie Olson’s golden voice can be forgiven nearly anything. But otherwise, much of this production is as thin as the tinny tracks and high school quality scenery, and sits there as unenthusing as Electra’s intentionally lackluster bump-and-grind.
If the context of the eight sketches in Shorts Gone Wild 3 is primarily gay-centric, the material and performances have markedly improved year after year until it has reached a high-water mark in the series’ quality.