ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp Review
Convoluted madcap transactions transpire in Mike Lew’s Microcrisis, but it’s not necessary to be knowledgeable about the messy details of financial instruments or large scale scams to enjoy this show. You’ll catch on and soon feel all too conversant in financial slight of hand.
A slick rogue banker, Bennett, deftly played by Kevin Bergen, swiftly dupes the fools and the credulous with his global microcredit scam. His enabler, a new NYC Federal Reserve boss played by Frank X, helps him make mincemeat out of regulatory structures. Frank X, whose fans know he’s always worth the price of admission, also plays the role of poor Acquah, the trusting borrower in Ghana who frames the story.
Microcrisis satirizes villain and innocent alike, and the once-naïve get skewered. Represented by a student intern who wants to do good in the third world, this last category provides the most potentially interesting dramatic possibilities. Suckered in up to her eyeballs, the intern--actually much too quickly-- succumbs to the lure of easy money, helping herself instead of others. Then when everything comes crashing down she protests her innocence and rails against the predators.
InterAct’s production is beautifully cast. Dave Johnson (of recent Puck fame at the Lantern) does a Harvard brainiac slacker to a turn. Hannah Gold as the well-intentioned intern, and Bi Jean Ngo (as a perky light-up android and also a berserk Moody’s rating agent), are both promising comediennes-- and both are too loud for the confined space. Maia Desanti is a regular chameleon in her roles.
Caitlin Lainoff’s minimalist set of neutral matching wall and floor tiles accommodates her recurring video projections, which lend a helpful sense of locale to shifting scenes. The visuals are tightly coordinated with Mark Valenzuela’s music and sound effects.
The concept of microcredit for the greater good gets turned on its ear, just as this noble (and Nobel) idea has sometimes fallen victim to fraud in real life. Full of a crazy mix of humor and moral outrage, Microcrisis speeds along at a frenetic pace. Is it afraid to risk getting bogged down with a pause or two for gravitas? Would lingering reveal that the swindle at hand may be too true-to-life and too offensive to laugh at? Never mind. Microcrisis drives home its point and still pays off with a windfall of fun and laughs. Forget how much you lost in the last global financial crisis, and enjoy.
Anything Goes Cast Recording
Our review of the show
Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show
Slings & Arrows-the complete set
You don't have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to love all 21 episodes of this hilarious and moving Canadian TV series about a fictional Shakespeare Company