Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Beebo Brinker Chronicles

photo: Dixie Sheridan

Lesbians are disproportionately under-represented on New York's gay-friendly stages, and for that reason I'm inclined to stress that this off-Broadway one-act (which adapts Ann Bannon's 1950's-era lesbo pulp novels) has some girls-night-out value. (And David loved it too.) It's a lively and sometimes amusing show, although it lacks the strong point of view that the purple material demands for current audiences. The play wants to have it both ways by gently playing the then-tawdry exploits in the books for camp, while mining them for a now-typical gay-is-okay coming out story. The result is that the show doesn't do a bang-up job of either: the tone is all over the place. (I was reminded how much more successful Nosedive's Halloween show was, on a shoestring budget, at staging pulp fiction style). The production, which hasn't been adequately re-imagined to work in its new, bigger space after its hit run last year downtown, looks underfurnished and on-the-cheap. Yet it isn't boring, and the performers often get to look like they're having fun. That, and the fact that gay girl stories are relatively uncommon on stage, gives it some coolness points.

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