Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Pure PolyEsther"

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note: entire contents copyright 1999 by Larry Stark

"Pure PolyEsther"

Book and Lyrics by Abe Rybeck
Music by John Thomas and Abe Rybeck
Directed and Choreographed by Thomas DeFrantz
Music Director Tom Lawrence

Scenic designer Trina Banarjee
Lighting Director Jennifer Simon
Costume Designer Chase Tyler
Stage Manager Robbie Gray
Production Manager Richard Daly

King Ahasuerus......................Margaret Ann Brady
Prime Minisher Haman...................Bradford Scobie
Hagai,the Royal Court Eunuch....Michael Anthony Mevoli
Mordecai, the Jew.........................Patrick Wang
Queen Vashti.............................David Hanbury
Esther/PolyEsther......................Julie Maykowski
Judah Dorrington, Michelle Falanga, Shawn Jacobs, Kerrie Kitto, Yogen Kushy

"Pure PolyEsther" is a gay musical parody of the Biblical Book of Esther, involving cross-dressing by both genders, deletable epithets, simulated intercourse of all sorts, nearly naked young men, and shamelessly presentational over-acting. If any of those words, singly or in any combination, have ever offended you then you will not like Theater Offensive's production of Abe Rybeck's comedy.

Those of you who still saw fit to press on to my second paragraph , however, will probably be laughing too hard to complain about bawdy blasphemies, Burlyque schtick and drag-acts. This show encourages, in fact requires hissing of the villain and cheering on of the heroine, and there are no lines above anyone's head --- below the belt is more like it.

Runaway star of this production is a tiny round powerhouse named Margaret Ann Brady playing King (yeah, king) Ahasuerus. In a puffball Persian cap and a painted curlicue mustache her enthusiasm is infectious, her timing impeccable. She is a joyous reincarnation of Stubby Kaye, playing the gullible figurehead in this traditional melodrama.

Bradford Scobie is the hissable Haman, posturing in Egyptian finery to provide maximum target for audience jeers, and sporting a black ribbon of goatee apparently epoxyed to his lower lip. David Hanbury plays Queen (yeah, Queen) Vashti in shriek-pink stilt-heels and attitude to match. Michael Anthony Mevoli is Hagai the eunuch-of-all-work around the harem, while Patrick Wang is the put-upon Mordecai --- Hagai's significant-other in this telling of the tale.

Julie Maykowski plays Esther --- nicknamed "Polly" by her droll Uncle Mordecai --- as a yuppie Valley-girl who gets ahead, literally, by giving great head. She has most of the operatic parody, and is the center of the predictable plot.

The Abe Rybeck/Theatre Offensive style says nothing exceeds like excess --- knowing knockabout and smart slapstick are his tools, and he and John Thomas have set Abe's intricate rhymes to a bouncy, struttable score as gaudy as Chase Taylor's costumes, as blatantly broad as Thomas DeFrantz' dances and direction, as eclectic as Trina Banarjee's peripatetic sets.

Who says Bible Studies have to be dull?


"Pure PolyEsther" (till 14 March)
Boston Center for The Arts, 539 Tremont Street, BOSTON

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide