note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
While theaters are disappearing under the weight of dwindling reserves, CENTASTAGE maintains its equilibrium, consistently presenting solid new plays by local writers. When I’m dispatched to see a new work, I hope against hope that it’s funny, original, has something to say and that it keeps me guessing. The great news is that THE RANDOM CARUSO (playing through March 7th) does all that and more. CARUSO has a top flight cast, to boot.
Andrew Clarke’s savvy send-up of Hollywood mores starts off like gangbusters, with Robert Pemberton’s hilarious run in with a pancake. Pemberton plays a power hungry actor-of-a-certain-age who has “people” to run interference for him. Michael F. Walker as the unhappy toady, in addition to fetching more flapjacks, fetches dates for the actor. He’s even required to deflect the small talk which precedes a seduction!
Clarke has immense fun imagining the mania that accompanies stardom. If the actor wants a waitress (shrewdly played by Tracy Oliverio), he’ll have that waitress, by hook or by crook. What interests Clarke, and us, is the crook of the matter. I tried to anticipate those plot twists, but I was surprised at every turn….and delighted by John Porrell as a psycho film producer (Is there any other kind?). Even the scene changes are a hoot. Director Joe Antoun knows how to keep the action taut and the fun lightening fast. Who could ask for more?