Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Onion Cellar"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Larry Stark

"The Onion Cellar"

Conceived,written & designed by Amanda Palmer, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Marcus Stern, Christine Jones, Anthony Martignetti
Directed by Marcus Stern

Texts by the cast:
Remo Airaldi, Claire E. Davies, Thomas Derrah, Brian Farish, Kristen Frazier, Jeremy Geidt, Merritt Janson, Karen MacDonald, Amanda Palmer, Neil Stewart, Brian Viglione

Musical Interludes by "The Dresden Dolls"

Costume Design by Clint Ramos
Lighting Design by Justin Townsend
Sound Design by Clint Ramos
Assistant Director Alison Wood
Assistant Voice and Speech Chris Lang
Voice and Speech Consultant Nancy Houfek
Assistant Dramaturgs Sally Ollove, Katie Rasor
Dramaturgs Ryan McKittrick, Neena Arndt
Assistant Stage Manager Katherine Shea
Stage Manager Jennifer Sturch
Advertising Consultants Stevens Advertising

Since I had yet to visit the new Zero Arrow Street Theatre, I took Will Stackman's offer of his extra ticket to this crowded cabaret-format rock-concert with enigmatic dramatic interpolations. About a quarter of the way in, a kind waitress threw me a pair of ear-plugs, since everyone in the spaciously square flexible stage was tinnily miked and the music was painfully loud. The snippets of dialogue occasionally interrupting the concert were sort of minimalist --- little driplets of interaction which the audience was left to "connect-the-dots" as they saw fit. The cash bar started at five bucks per beer/wine (and Stella Artois isn't worth it), action was exploded around the space in all directions, and though the program noted running-time as an hour and a half it felt to me interminably ambiguous. Since I don't read press-packets, I have no idea what I was intended to think of this elaborately expensive extravaganza. (Will promised a quick-take and Norm Gross was there, so maybe they will tell me what I was missing.) What I DID think was "Where are all the anti-capitalist Communists now that we really need them?" I know the A.R.T. needs to keep spending all that money, or perhaps people will stop giving them more, but the mere costs of Lighting this show would have kept a dozen (better) Boston THEATER companies in business for a year --- and I don't mean costs of instruments and gels and technicians, I mean the huge Electric Bill alone.
Vive La Revolution!!!

( a k a larry stark )

"The Onion Cellar" (9 - 13 December)
Zero Arrow Street, CAMBRIDGE MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide