Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fringe/The Boy in the Basement

Photo/Luke Ratray

Everything depends on context: most people would use a box full of contemporary romance novels for firewood, but not Katharine Heller. She still used those books for fuel, sparking her imagination, but the only thing on fire is her playful, hot, pulp of a tale: The Boy in the Basement. Heller's show plays to a similar crowd as last year's Beebo Brinker Chronicles, but, as an original show, takes itself far less seriously, and is unabashedly fun. When a very hot burglar (Tom Macy) gets caught in the act by four coeds, he finds himself a rather willing sex slave, out to satisfy the needs of a Venezuelan dominatrix (Heller), a holistic hippie (Anna Stumpf), and an "experienced" woman (Lynne Rosenberg). He does that, but in the process, falls for the naive Midwestern virgin (Meghan Powe) who thinks that he's doing yard work as punishment. The side plots, which involve a double-cast Michael Solis, aren't as effective, but Heller's choice to make the narrator, Catherine DuCheval (Nick Fondulis), an excitable guy is clever, and it not only provides a huge boost to the comic atmosphere but helps the show to remain uninhibited as it leaps from scene to scene. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being "I pictured my mom having sex" and 5 being "I'd come again," The Boy in the Basement gets a 4.5.

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