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|A CurtainUp Review
By Jenny Sandman
It seems HERE will go to all lengths to make the evening a memorable one -- and it is. The show is sort of a very solemn cross between The Donkey Show and Cirque du Soleil You ou are presented with a small coin and a tiny honey cake in lieu of a ticket which you hand to a heavily tattooed Goth gentleman with Cerberus emblazoned across his t-shirt. The theatre, which has been remade into a posh nightclub with pseudo-modern furniture, a steel bar, and black walls. Each table sports six pomegranate seeds and strangely dressed creatures offer drinks (one free drink per ticket courtesy of Boru vodka) and other, more disreputable services. It's a gimmicky setup but it fits the nightclub motif. The cocktail waitresses who wear heavily feathered, vaguely S&M, Gaultier-inspired costumes; become the Sirens or backup singers to Persephone. Her shades (Tantalus and others), also in extraordinary costumes, hold court around her, occasionally moving in to become part of the story, at other times hanging back to blend in with the scenery. At key moments flickering home videos are projected to visualize memores of what has been lost. Orpheus (Taylor Mac) and Persephone (Daphne Gaines) have powerhouse voices and sing their hearts out as Eurydice (Leeanne Hutchison) shimmers in the background.
This Orpheus is almost a rock opera, yet it's not quite rock. The live band plays vaguely Mediterranean music, a mix of Balkan, Greek, Texan and rock sounds. Thes faintly exotic melodies make for a most unusual soundscape. As befits the underworld, the songs are lamentations, full of keening and pain. The ensemble dynamic is very strong, and Mac and Gaines have an interesting and mesmeric chemistry. The set design (David Evans Morris) uses the entire space in a very creative way, and the costumes (Liz Bourgeois) are innovatively bewitching, revealing more about the characters than the songs do.
This is an ingenious retelling of an old myth, and it manages be a "New York moment" with its settings, first date kisses on Bow Bridge, eating at One if by Land and snacking at Katz's and the San Gennaro festival. It all adds up to a wonderfully self-referential, cynical "it could only happen in New York" show.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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