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|A CurtainUp Review
By Barbara K. Mehlman
I wish I could give an unreserved to Bravo, NY, a new play by Dominic Orlando. The fact that I can't. doesn't mean, that it isn't worth seeing. The No-Pants Theatre Company's production provides enough that is interesting to make a visit worthwhile, especially for those interested in the work of unknown, non-mainstream playwrights.
The play's title is also the name of a high-profile catering company. Its waiters are struggling artists waiting for their big break or trying to find themselves. Duncan Thyme, a hated New York real estate tycoon (sound like a character based on a real life model?) wants desperately to be loved. To effect this seemingly impossible change in the public's attitude towards him, he conceives The Empire Awards, ostensibly to celebrate New York' s 100th birthday. Naturally, he hires Bravo, NY d to cater the awards banquet.
A series of short scenes lead up to the banquet and give us a glimpse into the lives and relationships of the characters. Unfortunately we never really get to know them very well, possibly because all the actors except one play anywhere from two to four parts. This multiple role playing tends to be confusing and frequently makes the action hard to follow. There are, however, two breakout performances : Mahasin Ali who plays four parts and Dan Lundy who tackles three, one of them Duncan Thyme. Both actors manage to make their many characters distinctive enough to have you convinced that they're all different people. Too bad this does not hold true of the other performances.
Director Karin Bowersock shows a lot of promise. Especially impressive is her handling of the banquet scene which culminates in violence just as Mr. Thyme announces the recipient of the first Empire Award. She not only manages to have ten characters on stage at once but brings off the clever conceit of having the violence played out in slow motion. This commonly used film technique is not easy to accomplish on stage, and deserves a big "bravo" here.
Martin Fahrer's set design is bright and original, making excellent use of a bed on wheels, a table, a few chairs, and platforms on either side of the stage. An electronic sign above the stage helpfully announces the title of each scene.