The Phoenix Network:
 
 
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
 

Review: Mad Horse's Dark Night series returns

A pleasing menu
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  October 13, 2010

For three years now, on the midweek evenings when their main stage show is off and the theater is normally "dark," Mad Horse has staged a whole second batch of theatrical diversions. This year, director Aurora White brings together three short comedies by Christopher Durang, David Ives, and local actor and playwright James Hoban, in an evening billed as Midge's Section: Three Short Comedic Entrees. All are set in the same restaurant, in which characters lounge with coffees and novels as they await their own scenes, occasionally looking up at other people's dramas, or accepting a drink or a wink from the colorful waitress, Midge (Tara McDonough).

The triptych starts with Hoban's Recruiting, which I thought the smartest script of the evening. In this clever little cultural satire, an older gentleman in a suit (William McCue) ventures to (correctly) peg his younger tablemate (the Phoenix's own Nicholas Schroeder) as gay, then goes on to reveal that the entire world is actually run by his monster multi-national corporation, known simply as Straight. The operation is everywhere, he says wittily, "except for a few streets in Chelsea." Hoban's script is sharp and quick, though its delivery could sometimes stand some more speed, and McCue executes some funny little flourishes of smarminess.

As the suit goes back to his Times, a platinum blonde in red patent leather shoes (Amanda Huotari) sweeps in for a reunion with her ex-husband of 10 years (David Murray). This is Durang's Canker Sores and Other Distractions, and as the title suggests, this couple's reconciliation is no perfect night of champagne and foie gras. Though the script itself goes on a little long, Huotari is winningly outrageous, and Murray's ex-husband reverts to puerile male passive aggression with a cringe-inducing authenticity. It's funny 'cause it's true.

Finally, Bill (Burke Brimmer) seeks to sit in the empty seat next to Faulkner-reading Betty (Amanda Painter) in Ives's Sure Thing. He blows it at inquiry number one. Then a bell rings, and he blows it again, but differently. After the bell rings a few more times, he's actually gotten his ass into the chair, and later there follow myriad iterations of views on Faulkner, Woody Allen, and the institution of marriage. The lovely Painter has poise and visible intelligence that are a delight to watch, and both actors have impressive internal restart buttons. They also give their reworked lines enough nuance to keep the scene charged, as Bill and Betty's exchanges arc optimistically toward the best of all possible pick-ups.

Midge's Section: Three Short Comedic Entrees | Directed by Aurora White | Produced by Mad Horse Theatre Company | at Lucid Stage, Portland | Mon-Wed through October 20 | 207.730.2389

  Topics: Theater , Entertainment, Woody Allen, Theater,  More more >
| More


ARTICLES BY MEGAN GRUMBLING
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM  |  April 17, 2014
    Snowlion gets dark with a musical tragedy
  •   THE HYDROPHILIC LIFE  |  April 11, 2014
    The very winning world premiere of Underwaterguy , which Underwood both wrote and performs, runs now at Good Theater, under the direction of Cheryl King.
  •   THE PASSIONS OF PRIVATE LIVES  |  April 03, 2014
    Battle of the exes at Portland Players
  •   LEARNING TO HEAR, AND LISTEN  |  April 03, 2014
    The vicissitudes of identity and community are difficult negotiations in Nina Raine’s drama Tribes , dynamically directed by Christopher Grabowski for Portland Stage Company.
  •   THE DEAD DON'T LEAVE  |  March 28, 2014
    The complexity of familial love, regret, and shame, as seen between Charlie, who long ago moved to London, and his simple, sometimes confounding, working-class gardener father (Tony Reilly), are the crucible of Hugh Leonard’s Da .

 See all articles by: MEGAN GRUMBLING



  |  Sign In  |  Register
 
thePhoenix.com:
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
TODAY'S FEATURED ADVERTISERS
Copyright © 2014 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group