Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Big Dish"

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note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Larry Stark

"The Big Dish"

by Brian Jewell & Karen "Mal" Malme
Directed by Renee C. Farster

Set Design by Jonathon English
Lighting Design by Renee C. Farster
Sound Design by Brian Jewell
Stage Manager Deborah Shansky

Hazel (etc.)................Renee C. Farster
Scoops (etc.).....................Brian Jewell
Golda (etc.)..........Karen "Mal" Malme
Hink (etc.).......................Brian Turner

Brian and Mal are full of surprises. Their last show was a collection of quick gay comedy-sketches. Their new show, however, is a cliché-puncturing send-up of Hollywood mysteries and detective film-noir, complete with one long plot, a Shakespearean dumb-show introduction and a perfect sell-out ending. They have sucked their excellent Director Renee C. Farster onto the stage along with Brian Turner, and --- as is their wont --- whipped everyone in and out of a dozen or so character- and costume-changes each. They all have a ball, and you will too.

This whodunnit begins with a reporter for a Hollywood scandal-sheet murdered, and a pair of script-hacks sent undercover by the studio head to find out why. You'll find a whole generation of classic movies popping out of this script's cuisine-art, as well as splashes of brilliant originality. There's a sequence of choreography for two flashlights; a fashion-show that gives new meaning to the phrase "the rag trade"; and (as in any Brian & Mal show) the suspense of wondering who will pop back onstage in yet another costume as yet another unique character./

Brian Turner has a gaunt, deep-voiced dissipation about him that give his venal studio honcho, his sardonic cab-driver, and his tightly closeted matinee idol a tall, Paul Henreid look. Renee C. Farster has all the sex-pot roles, an adagio-dance with Mal, a hair-netted frump of a waitress, and what can only be described as a fully-clothed strip-tease. Mal has a monologue pushing Raymond Chandler's odd metaphors to the very edge of the page, and she and Brian drop barbed references to screen idols and screen classics it would take a forest of footnotes to document.

The entire single-act show is breakneck in [pace, and manages dozens of short scenes with minimal props and a light-plot from Jonathon English that makes miracles with only nine instruments. This crew may be funnier if you're a classic film buff, but they're funny enough for any age bracket. This show has legs...


"The Big Dish" (4 - 27 October)
731 Harrison Avenue, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 842-7927

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide