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A CurtainUp Review
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Goldberg's machines have been included in several films including Soup to Nuts (1930) featuring The Three Stooges, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang featuring a car with a mind of its own. Quinn Bauriedel, Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle's machines machines machines machines machines machines machines may be the first staged production in which Rube Goldberg-style machines take over.
Machines7 (as the show will be called henceforth in this review) is directed by Aleksandra Wolska with some help from Charlotte Ford, but as the show really revolves around the machines, most of the credit must go to their creators, Steven Dufala and Billy Blaise Dufala. As a matter of fact, much of the action and dialogue seem to be improvised as the play progresses. At least one hopes so. Otherwise there is little to account for the redundancy and inconsistency of the action and speech that goes along with the play's falling objects, spinning wheels, and semi-operational pulleys and levers.
Machines7 is about the adventures (mostly recalled) of three men: The Chief Commander (Quinn Bauriedel), Phineas (Geoff Sobelle) and Liam (Trey Lyford). They are dressed in a Salvation Army-style wardrobe consisting of undershirts, old combat uniforms and (in one case) a kilt. Onstage, they prepare and eat breakfast with the help (one might say hindrance) of the many machines. But it seems they have been, are on, or will be undertaking some mission. They talk in heroic terms, except for Liam who speaks into a rubber hose.
The Commander enters on a toilet seat. Phineas gets eaten by a couch but reappears through a trap door. The show climaxes with a battle at sea.
Machines7 might have impress some as hilarious. It would be a funny skit for about ten minutes, a bit longer for a 12-year-old. But at one hour and twenty minutes it produced a reaction in this reviewer that progressed from boredom to annoyance.
According to the program notes, rainpan 43, the collaborative that created Machines7 (as well as all wear bowlers a show which delighted Curtainup reviewer Jenny Sandman), "is dedicated to creating innovative, actor-driven absurdist plays that are at once deeply profound and utterly ridiculous." Given the innate contradiction of these two terms, one has no choice but to pick the most appropriate description— utterly ridiculous.