note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Carl A. Rossi
Myron Siegel … Larry Coen
Sally Charmaine … Ellen Colton
Daisy … Lordan Napoli
Little Willie … Steve Gagliastro
Bertrille Siegel … Rachel Harker
Sig Higginbottom … M. J. J. Cashman
Ann Darrow … Sarah Abrams
Carl Denham … Timothy Smith
Jack Driscoll … Christopher Loftus
The Lyric Stage of Boston concludes its most successful season, thus far, with the world premiere of KONG’S NIGHT OUT, a 1930s screwball farce by Jack Neary: Broadway producer Myron Siegel has had his productions repeatedly sabotaged by rival Carl Denham (the impresario from the 1933 film KING KONG); on the opening night of Myron’s latest extravaganza, Denham pulls another crowd-stealing coup with something even more colossal (guess who?) --- Myron vows revenge. Mr. Neary pays a nostalgic tribute to that vanished film world, simultaneously tweaking it; thus, the Art Deco setting is in place with its four slammable doors along with the Harlow hairdos, a henchman spoutin’ big woids, and nonstop wisecracks; balancing all that are “shit”, “Jesus” and “bitch” peppering the dialogue (imagine Fred & Ginger talking like that) and the hick-ingenue shooting down the big ape, Rambo-style. As written by Mr. Neary and directed by Spiro Veloudos, KONG’S NIGHT OUT rings mechanical all the way: Myron only wants to win back his audiences, not his wife (all of the best screwball comedies were love stories, at heart), and Mr. Veloudos has his cast hit the ground running which would work had his actors not been so decidedly earthbound; by Act Two, screams and chaos rule. On the night I attended, despite a democratically-seated audience, the house reactions were laughter from the pit, smiles from the stalls and silence from the gods.
Rachel Harker, M. J. J. Cashman and Sarah Abrams are visually perfect as the two-timing wife, the investor with the oom-pah accent and Kong’s playmate Ann Darrow (Ms. Abrams, in her wig, is a dead-ringer for Joan Blondell rather than Fay Wray); I am saddened to see Lordan Napoli (f/k/a Laura DiNapoli), once an artless, gawky comedienne, becoming a bug-eyed toy as the ingenue, her comedic gears fully exposed. Ellen Colton, as Myron’s stripper-mother, contributes another of her hard-bitten broads; ironically, it was Mr. Neary’s BEYOND BELIEF, several seasons ago, that demonstrated what a moving actress Ms. Colton can be --- hey, Mr. Producer!