Sunday, July 29, 2007

MITF: "The Broken Jump"

OK, so these days, vaudeville really isn't that funny. However, watching actors like Jack Boice ham it up in a flattering homage of the old days; that's comedy. The Broken Jump isn't just a comedy, though, and that's what makes it pretty good, too. King Talent's script tells the story of an elder performer, Julius McGowen (whom he also sagaciously plays) coming to terms with the life he left when he fled the ill-repute of his ex-prostitute lover, Natalie (played by Melissa Jo Talent) to pursue an eventual Broadway act. Fifteen years later, and McGowen's a dying breed who finds a breath of fresh air in Natalie's precocious daughter, Christina Bell (Caitlin Mehner). Unfortunately, his partnership with young Milton Kean (Tony King) is threatened by his big plans for Christina, and by the aggressive politics of conservative Senator Irving Drew (Greg Homison), who'd like to ban children from the inappropriately lascivious messages of "the theater." The show bustles along, building relationships and lovingly embracing the history of vaudeville, and it's not until the abrupt, mood-changing finale that The Broken Jump appears to be broken.

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