Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Number 14

I don't want to be a meanie, but The Number 14 is about as sturdy as the flimsy backdrop of its set (a cross-sectioned, old-school public bus). I'm the wrong audience (it's aimed at children), but I found only a few exceptional bits, like when the bus is used as a jungle gym by a rather flexible "grandmother" who is being whipped around by a high-speed bus (what's the lesson we're teaching kids?), or when two strangers hold glossy headshots to cover their faces while using flip-book pictures to act out a sweet little romance. The rest of the show is all over the place, making exaggerated light of slow, elderly people; awkward and frantic adults; and hyperactive youngsters. There's little thought of an overall statement or overarching idea: thugs are prone to dance while spraying graffiti, one actor suddenly breaks into a rap, the cast into a fragmented version of "Don't Worry, Be Happy." The mask-work is creative, and I wouldn't mind the stereotypes if they tied together. The climax, which recycles all the characters from the previous vignettes in one sweeping series of on-and-off exits is a good example of direction, but it's not enough. I left the theater still waiting for something else to happen.

Also blogged by: [Patrick]

1 comment:

Patrick Lee said...

Sure, it's slight and lacks an overarching statement and a unified tone, but I found it a lot more entertaining than you did. The gymnastic grandma bit was actually one of the vignettes that did not work for me - a good idea, but the actor wasn't loose enough physically to pull it off and hide his effort.