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A CurtainUp Review
Tall Grass is bilge, which is not to say that it's wholly pointless. The actors are all quite good. The playwright has a snarky, dark sense of humor that's quite enjoyable. No, Tall Grass has just enough good points to highlight what a wash the rest of the production is which makes sitting through it particularly painful.
To sum up what it's about, it's a series of three one-acts, unrelated in theme or character. The first, The Business Proposal, is about a woman executive who discards her boyfriend in favor of a promotion, and learns her lessons when he works his way up through the Mafia. When the balance of power suddenly shifts to his side, she's more than willing to give up her career. The Gerbil chronicles a fateful night in the disintegrating marriage of a suburban couple when a burglar breaks in. They both try to use him against the other. Talll Grass is about an octogenarian couple with a frightening secret.
Individually, each of these one-acts is a funny, playful vignette (two have actually won awards). Collectively, they do not make for an evening of theater. There isn't enough commonality or substance to give the production any weight. It's funny, sure, but in a high school drama club kind of way rather than a professional Off-Broadway way. The triptych wants to be campy and over-the-top but instead takes itself way too seriously.
Cameron Anderson's blocky, weird set dominates the entire production, killing any effervescence and literally overshadowing the actors. Between each act , we see the actors half-continuing the action from the previous skit and half-dressing for the next, all to a number of goth-rocker Evanescence songs—a strange dichotomy, to say the least, and not one that improves the production. Despite the actors' energy and the director's deft touch, the combination of the three is just wearisome.
Playwright Brian Harris clearly has talent. Perhaps he should concentrate on a full-length dark comedy next time.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide