Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The New Century"

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note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Larry Stark

"The New Century"

by Paul Rudnick
Directed by Paul Daigneault

Original Music & Sound Design by Nathan Leigh
Scenic Design by Cristina Todesco
Costume Design by Gail Astrid Buckley
Lighting Design by Jeff Adelberg
Production Stage Manager Dawn Schall

Pride And Joy

Helene Nadler......Paula Plum
David Nadler........Bud Weber

Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach

Mr. Charles....Robert Saoud
Shane.............Bud Weber
Joan...........Emile Battle


Barbara Ellen Diggs.....Kerry A. Dowling

The New Century

Helene Nadler......Paula Plum
Mr. Charles......Robert Saoud
Shane...............Bud Weber
Joan.............Emile Battle

Paul Rudnick can be a very good playwright ("The Naked Eye") a funny playwright ("I Hate Hamlet") a Gay playwright ("The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told") even a great, funny Gay playwright ("Valhalla") --- and with the four pieces that constitute "The New Century" he has tried his hand at Gay stand-up comedy --- to roll-in-the-aisles success. Each of the stars is given a character to portray and they all meet in the final piece, and there are two minor characters brought in mostly to illustrate ideas, but these are direct-to-the-audience monologues: not-yet-plays, as it were. They are so full of cracks and jokes and one-liners, though, that laughs never stop rolling, and so solidly, flamboyantly acted everyone, straight or gay, can enjoy the hilarity.

The one short break from hilarity comes when Kerry A. Dowling, playing a crafts-mad "artist" (she's never without her glue-gun!) finds fulfillment decorating a pink velvet square for her son in The AIDS-quilt. It's as gaudy, personal, shallow and badly-composed as all her work, and Rudnick brings her back to giggly self-parody again before the end, but in this hour-long celebration of "Life-Style Choices" it has its place.

Paula Plum plays the proud, unde-steanding Jewish Mother of three differently Gay boys. And Robert Saoud is the haughty host of a Palm Beach public-access t-v show who smugly insists "I'm so Gay I can turn anyone Gay just by a glance at them. Zing!" he says to the audience, "Well, that was easy!"

Bud Weber gets all the beefcake-roles as Gay son or most-recent lover; Emilie Battle, with her little black baby strapped to her stomach, pleads for Mr. Charles to do his magic-thing to give him a better opportunity in life. They are both proof on-stage that The Boston Conservatory is the greatest treasure theater in Boston, America, and the world has ever known.

Straights and Gays may laugh at these over-the-top stereotypes from different angles, but no one can resist the non-stop onslaught of Rudnick's ebullient send-ups.
And it's running another THREE week-ends!
Need I say more?


"The New Century" (16 January - 14 February)
Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide