Theater West End
By Andrew Lippa
Based on a poem Joseph Moncure March
Directed by Derek Critzer
Musical Direction by Austin McElwain
Choreography by Amanda Warren
Starring Kristen Sheola and Preston Ellis
As parties go, this one is pretty good. Queenie (Sheola) takes up with circus clown Burrs (Ellis), and sparks fly until they don’t. She suggests a party to have some fun, and since this is the height of prohibitions, booze flows like water. Of course, all this noise and bother can’t fix an iffy marriage but when Kate (Michelle Knight) appears with her date, Mr. Black (Terrance J. Jamison), things really do pick up. There’s some wife swapping, some torrid sex, and even some on stage micturition. But now we have two jealous and violent men fighting over which ever woman gives them the best excuse to thump the other and the chinaware isn’t safe anymore.
It’s loud, boisterous, and sometimes its heard to hear, just like a real party. The sexual tension is high, and the testosterone fog keeps the air dangerous. We heard some great lines: “You can’t fight, you need to drink more!” Then Mr. Black demands “A bottle of bourbon and half a chicken!” Why stop at a half? Elaborate dance numbers pop up, including a drunken chorus line of guys. Ms. Knight later discreetly relives herself on stage, which I admit I’ve never seen before outside of Homburg. There’s a tipsy, fragile link between Sheola and Ellis; marriage seems like too much of a commitment, perhaps they ought to rent each other by the hour, just to keep the paperwork down.
A menagerie of eccentrics paint in the backdrop; we have a cigar chomping lesbian Madeline (Wendy Starkand), hooker Dolores (Elisabeth Christie), the fabulous D’Armano Brothers (David Kotary and Matt Rothenberg), and the always attractive underage Nadine (Sarah Huff). It’s is, indeed, a wild night, a bit rough around the edges but always with the looming decisions in the air. Shall we leave before the cops show up or take our chances with the bail bond guy. I’d pack a spare C-Note in my sock, just in case.