Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Adrift in Macao"

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note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Carl A. Rossi


book and lyrics by Christopher Durang
music by Peter Melnick
directed and choreographed by Stephen Terrell
musical direction by Jonathan Goldberg

Lureena … Aimee Doherty
Rick Shaw … Paul D. Farwell or Brendan McNab
Mitch … Ariel Heller
Tempura … Austin Ku
Corrina … Kathy St. George
Trenchcoat Chorus … Kerri Jill Garbis; Neal Richard Lee

I finally caught up with ADRIFT IN MACO, the film noir send-up at the Lyric. Christopher Durang is indebted primarily to the B-film MACAO (1952) for its exotic setting, its nightclub-casino, its loner male and its sultry chanteuse, gutting it of its dark romanticism and leaving only a candy shell and Peter Melnick’s score is catchy, enough, but with nothing for the charts. I would have enjoyed ADRIFT IN MACAO more for the fluff that it is, but the Messrs. Durang and Melnick have served it up as meat-and-potatoes and here their palates and mine part company. One cannot live on Camp, alone…

Stephen Terrell staged the Lyric evening, briskly, substituting the familiar whiz-bang acting of musical comedies for the layered atmosphere that film noir was all about --- you could have blown away his ensemble like dandelions --- nor was there anything shadowy about Scott Pinkney's lighting that laced J. Michael Griggs' cabaret set. That said, Kathy St. George got to shine, for a change, as a sexy, seasoned woman of the world, wrapping her legs around anything in pants; Austin Ku was endlessly amusing as a politically correct Asian stereotype; and Aimee Doherty, the chanteuse, was a visual knock-out from Square One --- her brief stripper’s walk to a drum’s bum-bum-buh-BUM-bum-buh-BUM-bum-buh-BUM was one for a desert island --- Ms. Doherty has come a long way in five seasons but still turns strident all too quickly; straight plays would force her to calm down and fill up, emotionally. But, for the moment, her showgirl looks and guarded presence could be poured into Cherie in Mr. Inge’s BUS STOP or Fran in Mr. Gilroy’s THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN, so I won’t grumble (much) if these demands are soon met. And may Ms. St. George also be pushed into more dramatic waters after she has completed her second MENOPAUSE…

"Adrift in Macao" (4 January-2 February)
140 Clarendon Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 585-5678

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide