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Fearless Follies

It was a comforting fiction to believe that generally able actors had simply boarded a poorly constructed craft and that it was the director below decks with an auger merrily assuring the rapid demise of the enterprise. Japes about mutiny came to mind. Upon reading the highly suspect bios for the director and playwright, however, it appears that it is the crew that should be flogged for, if nothing else, theft of irreplaceable audience hours spent enduring this indulgent little exercise.

There is a delusion, whether collective or individual I cannot say, that the next David Ives is being put before the public in this production. Sketches have an almost numbing way of declaring themselves to be fraudulent only to introduce another reality that, in turn, becomes the next fraud. Actors acting as if they're acting is the kind of thing that thrills actors, but by the third iteration audience members have completely lost interest. There's not much point in becoming invested in something that's just going to explode, much to the glee of the actors, two minutes later.

Things become more Ivesian in a stab at a Mamet parody, but, as neither the writing nor the performing are anywhere nearly the caliber required to pull this sort of thing off, we have a scene in which two nicely dressed ladies and their waiter manage to lard the word "fuck" into the conversation more often than not. And that's as far as the joke goes. If this is parody, then John Belushi's recurring sketch character was an academically rigorous exploration of bushido.

There are song-like moments in this show, sometimes accompanied by movements that allude to dance. The most remarkable thing about the musical numbers is that even if you fully concentrate on them, by the middle of the song you've still no idea what the point of the number is and find it impossible to care. I must say, though, that Maaren Edvard has the welcome ability to inhabit a musical number with a rather smoky allure. The rest of the cast gives every indication of having been sentenced to sing, though they do so with commitment.

I'm madly searching through my notes to find just one good thing to say, but what I have written is, "I can't believe this is still going on," "Split nail ... could this be more trite?" and "They did not just do that Korean restaurant joke." (They did.) Blame for this rudderless vessel is spread among Kevin Scott Allen, Jacob Bruce, Sandra Caruso, Jennifer Cozza, Dennis Gersten, and David Man.

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