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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Splendor, A 99¢ Only Stores Wonderama,
If the commercialism of the holiday season nauseates you, the remedy might be a celebration of tightwaddishness. If it's the thought that really counts, you can count your pennies and give glorious junk. Back by popular demand is Ken Roht's re-worked Splendor, a 99¢ Only Stores Wonderama at the Evidence Room.
You couldn't ask for a better display of shabby chic. From the brightly cheery banners that hang from the ceiling to floor of Keith Mitchell's set to the whimsical, plastic costumes designed by Ann Closs-Farley, Anthony Garcia and Barbara Lempel, everything assaults your eyes with the wonders of things chintzy.
Conceived, directed and choreographed by Roht, this wisp of entertainment whizzes by in an hour of cheap laughs. The plot has the Frenchies (who wear Egyptian inspired costumes) fighting with the Crusties (think plastic blue raincoats with 1920-style aviator headgear) over the Golden Boy (Chris Ibenhard). In between there are the fairies (women dressed up in dowdy underwear, with inexpensive wings, feather trimming and skirts made out of plastic baskets), the Good-time Girls (women and men in drag who bring a June Cleaver sigh of propriety with their plastic gloves and full skirts) and the Divas (fantasies of cheap who bring a little sass). Moving things along is the Cruise Director (Beverly Hynds) while Q, the Quarterly Reporter (Don Oscar Smith), spews out historical facts about the 99¢ Store chain.
Beth Mack portrays a 99¢ Store Junkie and Closs-Farley distributes candy as the purple-haired Hoochy Momma. You will hear a variation of the Nutcracker Suite to put you in the right warped holiday spirit. But mostly, you'll hear the original music composed by John Ballinger jumping genre-from gospel to rap to pop. You won't remember the lyrics or the melodies, but the utter whimsy of this piece doesn't demand that. This is fun, flimsy entertainment that takes a cheery, cheeky, cheesy view of consumerism.
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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