note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Beverly Creasey
Company One engaged seven local playwrights to riff on those old, freaky fairy stories collected by the Brothers Grimm. Seven short plays (running through Aug. 14th) are the happy result. The writers let their imaginations run wild, a few so far afield that you might not recognize the source material. Some, like Lydia R. Diamond’s THE WHITE BRIDE AND THE BLACK BRIDE are right on the mark, in Diamond’s case, as a hilarious tongue in cheek expose of “once-upon-a-segregated-time” in old Bavaria
Marcus Gardley’s nod to HANSEL AND GRETEL is my favorite, with Victoria Marsh in topnotch form as a humorless, German tour guide at the site of the “original” ginger bread house. As she descends into madness, we ascend on gales of laughter, topped off, as it were, with a perfect sight gag from director Shawn LaCount.
Everyone, it seems, from Sondheim to John Kuntz has turned LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD into a vixen but Kuntz adds some creepy S&M to the story: Poor Raymond J. Ramiriz (as the wolf) at the mercy of Becca A. Lewis’ formidable temptress. Gregory Maguire (of WICKED fame) sends the abandoned dwarves from pillar to post in search of Snow White and her poacher of a Prince. Kirsten Greenidge transports CLEVER ELSE to economically depressed East Boston and Melinda Lopez takes pity on a snake or two.
Directors LaCount and Summer L. Williams pack the stories with boundless energy and first rate performances, especially Keith Mascoll’s, as the grumpiest of dwarves, then as the smart mouthed Cry Baby Jones in John Adekoje’s wacky ode to THE FROG KING. Kudos, too, to Molly Kimmerling (in Greenidge’s showstopping monologue, in Diamond’s cautionary BRIDE and in Adekoje’s CRY BABY) and to Tasia A. Jones (in BRIDE and CRY BABY) and most of all, to Arshan Gailus for his haunting, mesmerizing, heart stopping sound design.