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Writing for CurtainUp NYC Weather
|A CurtainUp Review
The Big Bang
Set and costume designers, Edward T. Gianfrancesco and Basil DuMaurier have furnished the Park Avenue apartment of the audition's absent hosts Dr. and Mrs. Lipcombs, (they are visible via an Andy Warhol silk screen portrait) with enough hilariously convertible props to whiz us through the Big Bang's journey through the whole spectrum of western civilization. The performers also use themselves as props, as when a hand turns into the Serpent tempting Eve with the apple (a Granny Smith, naturally!).
The charm and magic of Graham and Feuer's whirlwind musical journey is that their magician-like quick changes are made in full view of the audience and with ingeniously simple materials: a hassock becomes a stone slaves must haul to build the Pyramid. . . a lampshade and scarf create a groovin' Queen Nerfertitis. . . two open umbrellas turn a piece of fabric into a hoop skirt. . . two chairs metamorphose into canoes. . . a black laquered mantelpiece clock with gold trim becomes Napoleon's tri-cornered hat. . . two bundles of yarn with knitting needles turn our two guys into Shanghai Lil and Tokyo Rose. What's more they never try to really hide their rather unassuming appearance. Graham remains visibly bald even as a hoop-skirted Southern Belle with bunches of curls made of bunches of colored ribbons. Feuer's hairy chest is part of the "sex appeal" of the Empress Josephine.
The performing impresarios' voices are as unimposing as their appearance but then this is a backer's audition and you, the backer, are expected to imagine what the catchy tunes and witty melodies would sound like when done by Big Bang-worthy singers. Even with Graham and Feuer doing all the honors it's clear that they've written themselves a book in which every other word and name entails a playful innuendo (Julius Caesar's wife Hypernia has a sister named Hernia, the Indians "dumped without any reservations" sip Manhattans at the Alogonquin Hotel and decide to "scalp" their Bow Wow tickets and Yiddishisms lurk everywhere) and score and lyrics with plenty of bounce. As is to be expected, not every number can hit home like the Blessed Virgin Mary and Mrs. Ghandi exchanging the travails of famous mothers (To Mary's "it's not all loaves and fishes/guess who gets to do all the dishes" Mama Ghandi retorts "my son is still in diapers""). A songs about a lion and Attila the Hun are two misses that fell flat amid the hits.
Fast on the delivery as both men are, the hour and a half allotted to them is up by the time their story gets to the 1960s, they know it's time to make their final pitch. And so a flyer urging everyone to "invest now!" is distributed by Graham. I think it's safe to say you won't go wrong investing 90 minutes of your time in this modest little show