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A CurtainUp Review
The Voyage of the Carcass
By Brad Bradley
The script at times suggests interest in the misadventures of the final three remaining members of a doomed eponymous vessel of more than a century ago near the North Pole, but writer Dan O'Brien seems much more interested in setting a field for contemporary improvisational horseplay by the trio of players at hand. This unabashedly schizophrenic work gaily spins itself out of control with regularity, periodically assaulting the audience with fake snow from the ceiling (some still seeping out of my notes and shoulder bag as I write) as well as several dips into the seating areas by the three players. At times I felt I had wandered into a dress rehearsal of NBC-TV's Saturday Night Live.
The piece begins with a ghoulish public address announcement about cell phones and the like, and that is followed by a fair amount of florid recorded music suggesting everything from grand opera to Titanic. Later, we are treated to sound now identified with Stanley Kubrick's 2001, A Space Odyssey. In fact, the most familiar bits of the latter accompany a brief snowstorm ballet, perhaps as might be done by the Three Stooges. No, this being the theater, I at least should invoke the Flying Karamazov Brothers, and this is a compliment to both them and the current players.
On stage, we find every theatrical cliché imaginable, including at least two renditions of "it was a dark and stormy night." The performers' movements often are frantic and suggest both children's theater and indulgent improvisation classes. Often the actors shout their lines. When a play does begin to surface, it feels like an amalgam of the grim intensity of Sam Shepard, the foulness of David Mamet, and the oblique existentialism of Samuel Beckett. At times the dialogue seems deliberately to have been written in gibberish, rendering language irrelevant.
There is fun here, especially in the antics of the two men. Dan Fogler, now known to many for his remarkably original performance in the still-playing Broadway musical The Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (CurtainUp Review), gets to show off much more versatility than any real play would permit, and Noah Bean shows a great deal of charm on a more subtle level. Kelly Hutchinson, alas, spends her time onstage playing either a dreary cleric or a tiresome termagant. She deserves a more rewarding role when she goes on to her next engagement.
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