Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Red Noses"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Carl A. Rossi


"RED NOSES"

by Peter Barnes
directed by Jim Petosa

Grez; Ensemble … Jonah Bamel
Flote … Chris Bannow
Scarron; Ensemble … Alejandra Escalante
Boutros 2; Ensemble … Todd Gaebe
Rochfort … Peter Hansen
LeGrue; Ensemble … Patrick Lynch
Marie; Ensemble … Allison McGuire
Pope Clement VI; Ensemble … Julia Coe
LeFranc; Ensemble … Kourtenaye Monroe
Toulon … Karl Baker Olson
Frapper; Ensemble … Michael Peterson
Camille; Ensemble … Jessica Rothenberg
Marguerite … Katy Rubin
Brodin; Ensemble … Jesse Rudoy
Boutros 1; Ensemble … Alex Wyse
Druce; Ensemble … Alison Yates
Bembo; Ensemble … David Gram
Sonnerie … Ibrahim Miari

The late Peter Barnes is best known in this country for the film version of his play THE RULING CLASS where a schizophrenic lord believes himself to be Christ but, through therapeutic trauma, switches over to Jack the Ripper --- a brilliant black comedy, on page and on screen. Mr. Barnes then pushed on into the blackness: in LEONARDO’S LAST SUPPER, Mr. da Vinci is prematurely declared dead and resurrected in a charnel-house; in THE BEWITCHED, the Spanish government attempts to produce an heir for the impotent, imbecilic Philip IV; LAUGHTER! jumps from the reign of Ivan the Terrible to the tedious bureaucracy of Auschwitz; RED NOSES, considered Mr. Barnes’ greatest play, is set in the plague-ridden France of the 14th century where a monk, sporting a clown’s red nose, travels about with a troupe of misfits, offering comedic guidance. I attended the Boston University production of RED NOSES and was saddened to see Mr. Barnes’ original style, so indebted to Joe Orton, reduced to the cold, cerebral whimsy of a Caryl Churchill (GODSPELL meets MARAT/SADE); matters were not helped by director Jim Petosa having his student actors slam their performance, throughout, rather than deftly tossing it away (an American versus a British approach) --- fortunately for Mr. Petosa, his cast has the vocal chords and physical stamina to sprint through his decathlon; fortunately for the cast, they need do it only five times, max (this is not a production built for long runs). Jeremy Barnett has designed the arresting set --- part rock concert, part bathroom tile --- and the evening is slick and professional in the Huntington manner; a far cry from my own student-acting days when the stage-walls would shake whenever anyone slammed a stage-door.

"Red Noses" (2-6 May)
Boston University College of Fine Arts
Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 933-8600

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide

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