Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Fuddy Meers"

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note: entire contents copyright 2000 by Larry Stark


"Fuddy Meers"

by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Eric Engel

Set Design by Susan Zeeman Rogers
Costume Design by Kiristin Loeffler
Lighting Design by John Malinowski
Sound Design & Original Music by J. Hagenbuckle
Production Stage Manager Brigid Connelly

Claire...............................Helen McElwain
Richard............................Barlow Adamson
Kenny.......................................Brian Barth
Limping Man..................Robert D. Murphy
Gertie.........................Kathleen Monteleone
Millet..................................Thomas Derrah
Heidi....................................Lisa Vechecco

If the phrase "tour de farce" hasn't been invented yet, David Lindsay-Abaire's incredible "Fuddy Meers" will force it into being. Only two characters in the play never lie. One, however, is recovering from a stroke that mixes her syllables and slurs her consonants. The other --- heroine of this improbable romp --- has to re-learn everything each morning because of an odd aphasia making her forget everything she knows or has learned once she falls asleep. Oh, and one other of the characters adds an eighth character by saying a lot of plot-useful things via a toilet-mouthed hand-puppet named Binky. Confused? Then just wait until you see the show!

Susan Zeeman Rogers and John Malinowski have turned the BCA Theatre space into a funhouse ride at an amusement park, with cramped little cars and even elaborate beds crashing through double-doors into and out of the playing space, moving things around from a suburban bedroom to a superhighway to a monochromatic yellow kitchen to the basement full of tools and hacksaws. Whenever the actors stop bouncing off one another, the sets do.

At the perplexed center of a chaos carefully orchestrated by Director Eric Engel is the cautiously trusting figure of Claire (Helen McElwain), surprised at reading she has a husband and a son in the booklet that reminds her every morning of --- everything. Her world is a fun-house kaleidoscope in which The Limping Man (Robert D. Murphy) appears in a ski-mask from under her bed insisting her husband (Barlow Adamson) is really about to murder her and he must drag her off to her mother's (Kathleen Monteleone) house for safe-keeping.

Her husband and son (Brian Barth) give chase, only to be stopped by a policewoman (Lisa Veshecco) inept enough to lose her gun and become their overheated, claustrophobic prisoner. Meanwhile Claire's muddled mom "dalk'd fuddy" because of a stroke --- imagine her hysterical try at convincing a 911 operator she needs help! --- and a hand-puppet named Binky turns out to be attached to Thomas Derrah, playing a loose-lipped accomplice.

Why do the pair of "rescuers" (and even Binky) have to saw single handcuffs from their wrists? Why is The Limping Man terrified by bacon? Who is Claire's real husband? Why is everything in the kitchen bright yellow, even a kid's old catcher's-mitt? Who's pretending, whose lying, what flaws can turn up in fantastic plans and plots? And --- can people Really change?

For the answers to these questions, and for dozens of even more bewildering questions, lurch through the doors of the Boston Center for The Arts and take the funhouse-ride of your life!

Love,
===Anon.


"Fuddy Meers" (till 28 October)
SPEAKEASY STAGE COMPANY
Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, BOSTON
1(617) 426-2787


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