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A CurtainUp Review
The City That Cried Wolf
It all started when a city council member named Humpty Dumpty (Loren Vandegrift), "a big egg with a thin shell,"asked Jack (Adam La Faci) to follow his wife, an ex-shepherdess named Little Bo Peep (Chloe Demrovsky), a.k.a. Bo, who has become a singer at a club called the Hey Diddle Diddle. When Humpty turns up dead, it looks bad for Bo.
Jack, who of course quickly falls in love with Bo, is determined to find the real killer, especially after Mother Goose (Michelle Concha), head of the police, tells him he can get his badge back —he lost it through some indiscretion that took the life of his lover, Jill (Rebecca Jones)— if he can solve the mystery.
Jack's adventure takes him into the bowels of the city where the attacking wolves roam He learns some of the city's deepest, darkest secrets. Along the way, he meets weird characters, like the councilman King Cole (Mat Bussler); Turkey Lurkey (Jyll Marie Mihlek), a madam who runs a brothel in the city, and Dr. Von Quack (Mat Bussler), a shady character whose alias is Plucky Lucky.
The City that Cried Wolf combines two of the most unlikely literary genres, the nursery rhyme and the detective novel. And it does so with a cleverness verging on brilliance. The only problem is that Reeves' puns and double entendres go on and on and on with a predictability that in the end becomes tiresome.
When Reeves runs out of nursery rhymes he turns to fairy tales and children's ditties. After a while it's like someone singing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" for so long you wish he'd run out of animals. Like a clever college student, Reeves just didn't know when to stop.
Directors Dan Barnes and Leta Tremblay, with the assistance of choreographer Alberto Peart and composer Brandon Barr, almost create a send-up of film noir that would make Raymond Chandler blush and, one suspects and hopes, laugh until his sides split. They might have been a good deal more successful if they'd had a cast with a better idea of tone and timing.
The actors seem quite young, and their inexperience shows. They are often stiff and awkward— too diligent, too careful and too nervous. No one seems to be having fun. And in a parody the audience needs to know that everyone is in on the joke.
The show is so original and funny in spots that one really wants to like it. But by the time the mystery is solved, the true nature of all the character is revealed and Jack says, "And I think about Goose and Jill, but most of all I remember the girl in the bonnet whose voice still hangs in the wind. End," the show seems a bit like the one-trick pony that doesn't know when to get off the stage.
©Copyright 2007, Elyse Sommer.
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