Elizabeth Salaam 12:06 p.m., May 21
Mae West danced to a different drummer all her life and with all her heart ("it's good girls who keep diaries," she said; "bad girls never have the time"). Claudia Shear's intermissionless piece only dabbles with West's psyche as it tells the rise of West and an unlikely courtship between her admirers, Jo and Charlie. Run separately, the stories wouldn't make for much theater (both lack dimension and, until the end, drama). What ignites Cygnet's trim production: director Sean Murray has cast an all-star team of three: Melinda Gilb, Steve Gunderson, and David McBean. Each excels, on Sean Fanning's bright red, minimalist stage (though the opening night musical numbers were surprisingly muted). And Jennifer Brawn Gittings's costumes are outstanding.
Worth a try.
- "Dirty Blonde at Cygnet" (May 27, 2012)