Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Pub Crawl '98"

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note: entire contents copyright 1998 by Beverly Creasey

Drunk with Laughter

by Beverly Creasey

What could get a teetotaller, you might ask, to go pub crawling all over town? The answer, of course, is dramatic. For three years now, Aidan Parkinson has been staging is pithy one-act plays in pubs. You see, he writes them specifically for performances in bars. Upstairs in bars. Downstairs in pubs. And usually the setting of the play is --- you guessed it --- a bar.

The Third Annual Pub Crawl the last two weekends, in Central Square and Jamaica Plain. Parkinson wrote the opener, a take-no-prisoners send-up of theater folk, and Doug Grissom is the author of the second little gem, a steamy hands off sexual fantasy mindgame.

"The Audience" introduces us to two characters in an audience, a man and a woman whose significant-others are on stage. They're the modern equivalent of the vicious Restoration gossip[s, assassinating reputations with passionate fervor. The vitriol -- each goes for the other's lover --- reaches such a pitch that sparks are ignited, and you can guess where it goes from there.

The second play, written by Doug Grissom, is called "Undress Me Clarence" and that is exactly what a woman on a barstool asks of the man seated next to her in a pub. He obliges and finds she's a stickler for detail --- and we're the voyeurs in this hilarious take on antiseptic sex, proving that the brain is indeed the dominant sex organ.

John Quinn directs Irene Daly and Ciaran Crawford at breakneck comic speed in "The Audience". Their exchange of rapid fire insults is wickedly sublime. Both Daly and Crawford are such master comedians you're reminded of the screwball battles of Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.

Elizabeth Harris directs the second script with an exquisite sense of dramatic foreplay. Pamela Rogers is marvellously droll as the exacting seductress and Brian Scally is fabulously funny as her cerebral suitor. "Undress Me Clarence" is adorably naughty and undeniably smart.

Pub Crawl '98
"The Audience"
"Undress Me Clarence"
James's Gate, JAMAICA PLAIN (10 & 12 December)
Phoenix Landing, Central Square, CAMBRIDGE (4, 5 & 11 December)

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide