Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Heart of Jade"

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note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Beverly Creasey

Laugh Riot
at CentaStage

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

CentaStage's "Heart of Jade" is a laugh a minute. No, I stand corrected --- it's every ten seconds. Although the writing by Gip Hoppe is clever the technical hijinks are worth a Tony or two as well. You may remember Hoppe's outrageous "Jackie" but "Heart of Jade" is closer to "Beach Blanket Bingo" than it is to political satire.

What a cast (directed by Hoppe -- is there anything he can't do?) to send up Hollywood --- with the lurid life of Jade Snow (Stacy Fischer). And there's even a spoof of Indonesian shadow-puppets which gracefully undulate on their puppeteers' sticks. (You haven't seen "undulation" until you see Ellen LeBow's frisky little figures. You won't be able to watch an earnest puppet show ever again!)

Just when you think there isn't anything in the world funnier than Jan Davidson portraying Tinseltown itself (including its LAX!) she dons a mustache and chest hair and swaggers like Clark Gable. Then when you think you can't laugh anymore, a bleach blonde Rick Park emerges in red pumps, silicone lips, botoxed forehead and a bosom you could serve drinks on.

Nat McIntyre doesn't miss a beat, even with his pants around his ankles. (Kudos to Gail Astrid Buckley for his boxers alone!) Marianna Bassham and John Kuntz play everyone else with the energy and talent of the original "man of a thousand faces" Lon Chaney. I swear kuntz and Bassham are wearing rubber faces....and sweet butter-would-melt-etc. Stacy Fischer proves she can land a comic punch with the best of 'em.

"Heart of Jade" is naughty, crass, and shameless; in other words, the perfect summer escape.

"Heart of Jade" (13 - 29 June)
Boston Center for The Arts, 539 Tremont Street, BOSTON

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide