Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Adrift in Macao"

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note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Larry Stark

"Adrift in Macao"

Book & Lyrics by Christopher Durang
Music by Peter Melnick
Direction & Choreography by Stephen Terrell
Musical Director Jonathan Goldberg

Conductor F. Wade Russo
Scenic Design by J. Michael Griggs
Lighting Design by Scott Pinkney
Costume Design by David Costa-Cabral
Assistant Stage Manager Katherine Shea
Production Stage Manager Kate Croasdale

Lureena......Aimee Doherty
Rick Shaw.....Brendan McNab
Mitch.........Ariel Heller
Tempura.......Austin Ku
Corrina........Kathy St. George
Kerri Jill Garbis
Neal Richard Lee

As I waited for the train home I heard that calm, unhuried, deep voice of the MBTA say first

"The Orange Line train to Oak Grove is approaching this station."
"The Orange Line train to Forest Hills is approaching this station."
and I fully expected that calm, unhurried voice to add:
"And they're both on the same track. ....."

That's what a little too much Christopher Durang can do to a person.....

Everything about this no-intermission romp is shamelessly shallow, arrogantly self-referential - and funny as hell. J. Michael Griggs' fluidly gaudy set and David Costa-Cabral's sensuous costumes make it look like a comic-book; Peter Melnick's music is light, bouncy, rhythmical and satyrical; and Durang's effrontery in sending-up his own send-up again and again must be heard to be believed.

What, you want a Plot, after all that?

Okay, the seven-member cast walks off a gangplank stage-left in a dozen or more different costumes (Oh to be a dresser backstage!), and then sort themselves into five main characters and a "Trenchcoat Chorus" of two (Kerri Jill Garbis and Neal Richard Lee) who continue the costume-changes to play everyone-else. The year is 1952, Ike is president, but this is (until the last few minutes of the show) Macao. (It's in China --- which I didn't know either till Durang had the only oriental in the show (Austin Yu as, I kid you not, Tempura) tip me (and probably You, I'll bet!) off to the truth.

Ariel Heller plays Mitch, who is trying to tape-record a confession from a person who shot a girl in Dallas, just to see her.. No. Sorry. Who shot her and blamed it on Mitch. He wears a black homburg and won't tumble to sexy women.

Aimee Doherty, in a silver slinky dress that gets sprayed on every performance, is a saloon-singer between men and between jobs. A tough cookie with a heart of marshmellow.

Kathy St. George is the saloon-singer (Corinna) whom Lureena replaces. She is addicted to pancake flour (She smokes it in a big long pipe and seems Very Upset when her pancake-connection is a little late with a delivery.) She doesn't seduce Mitch either. But she is incredibly inventive in stage-business and comic timing --- as always.

Tempura is the steLeotypicaR YeRRow PeaLR (How does he DO that???), pretending obsequiousness and cursing the white trash in asides, but obviously has Hidden Agendas --- as do everyone on stage.

Rick Shaw (I told you Durang was shameless, didn't I) is the name of the Ticky Ticky Tock nightclub where the two broads get into hair-pulling battles over who's singing tonight. (Tempura: "Sing 'Pletty Moon Over Macao" Lureena: "But I don't know the words!" T: "Make 'em up!") Rick is played exceptionally well by Brendan McNab, who stepped in with only 7 days rehearsal when Paul D. Farwell smashed an elbow.

If this review isn't enopugh for you read Beverly Creasey's. I got it in e-mail but refused to read it before I wrote my own. But if she didn't like it, We Will Have Words.


( a k a larry stark)

"Adrift in Macao" (10 January - 2 February)
140 Clarendon Street, BOSTON
1(617) 585-5678

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide