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|A CurtainUp Review
Stepping Out With Mr. Markham
Stepping Out With Mr. Markham has a lot going for it, not the least of its assets being Timothy Britten Parker taking time out from Rent to star as Mr. Markham. He gives a winning performance as a fusspot, controlling ballroom dancer more interested in winning dance competitions with his wife Irene than having a warm and meaningful relationship with her.
Jeanne Dorsey's play in which she also co-stars as Irene, has many promising qualities. The main characters, the Markhams, are effectively characterized. They are highly successful ballroom dance contestants who operate mostly on the steam of his ambition. It doesn't take long to realize that he's in charge and she's unhappy with his one-note focus on the barrenness of their private life.. A scene in which she tries to seduce him is particularly effective in paving the way for her later declaration: "I was in need of a confidante and you were laying next to me like a metronome."
The staging, under Martha Banta's direction is also quite nice. The play which started as a reading has obviously been fleshed out but unfortunately without living up to the best parts of its present sum. There are three secondary characters -- Jennifer Albano as a newspaper vendor who's a cross between a wood sprite and a lost soul, Arthur Aulisi as a less compulsive dancing teacher more suited to satisfy Irene's yearning for real love, and Paul Dawson doubling up as a young man and a maid. Ms. Albano does the best she can with a character who telescopes the ending in her first scene. Mr. Aulisi also does as much as he can with his character. Mr. Dawson's young man seems shoehorned into the play without any real reason for being there -- except to lengthen the running time way beyond the intermission ess hour and a half announced. As things ran way beyond the point where it should and could have ended I couldn't think of the term bloatware used to describe computer programs that use inordinate amounts of disk space and memory: Too bad Ms. Dorsey didn't focus on building her play on the Markhams instead of getting lost in too many detours