note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
All the men in SpeakEasy Stages’s SOME MEN are terrific. Some of the vignettes are, too. Terrence McNally’s (mostly) raucous slice of gay life (at the Boston Center for the Arts thru March 29) works best at its most outrageous. You can’t beat McNally at his cattiest for laughs---like the wedding guest who threatens to spill the groom’s sacrosanct beans from group therapy…or the pop culture-obsessed queen who logs on to a chat room just to score Madonna tickets. Naughty is funny.
The vignettes come together very loosely so that the SOME of their parts doesn’t exceed the whole but the parts that work are wonderful. Director Paul Daigneault gets lovely work from the ensemble. Robert Saoud is sensational, sounding like Tallulah Bankhead, masquerading in a chat room or breaking our hearts as the father of a soldier killed in Afghanistan. Diego Arciniegas gives the most touching performance of the evening, as a married man who can no longer live the lie. Will McGarrahan brings down the house in drag (designed by Molly Trainer), marrying innocence with hilarity in his show-stopping rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Maurice Parent flawlessly demonstrates how to reinvent a familiar song, with his revelations about Lorenz Hart and his gorgeous rendition of “Ten Cents a Dance.” Ben Lambert and Paul Cereghino bring poignancy to a “forbidden” romance in the ‘20s and Christopher Loftus gives chills as a cool customer on the internet. Christopher Michael Brophy is a sweet-hearted AIDS patient (in a hospital scene which doesn’t go nearly far enough, in my opinion, to cover the ravages of this horrific disease. McNally pulls back on the big events in SOME MEN, giving only a back seat view of Stonewall, as well.) Last but not least, Andrew Wehling gets laughs in addition to applause for his piano playing. Chris Fournier’s shimmering light catches Eric Levenson’s gossamer silk panels to define the space and Andrew Dincan Will sculpts the sound which sets each scene.