Friday, October 10, 2008

Something Weird . . . in the Red Room

How did Rachel Klein end up stuck with material more ambiguous than Michael Jackson's last music video? She's a fantastic choreographer, so she makes the dancing effectively creepy, but she fails to find a way to direct through the schlocky Swiss-cheesed plots from Benjamin Spiro ("Sir Sheever") and Sean Gill ("Aenigma"). In "Sir Sheever," Ralph (Bret Haines) plans to rob Miss Elise (Kari Warchock), but rather than overpower her, ends up being cowed into taking part in her terrible tea party, and when they both find out that her odd collection of mannequins are real, they just roll with the punches. (I don't mind watching the cast imitate dolls--Ted Caine and Megan O'Connor are especially good at it--but I'd like them to have a reason for doing so.) In the far more unfathomable "Aenigma," Klein is at least given a clever set of flashbacks at the opening that allow her choregraphy to work with the show rather than in parallel to it, but when Charlotte (Elizabeth Stewart) kills Mr. Green (Rob Richardson) over a videotape of her sister, Diana (Jillaine Gill) . . . and then the whole thing turns out to be a psychic manipulation by the mindlessly evil Tad (Bret Jaspers), who in turn is trying to save the world . . . well, you see where this is going. (Just in case you don't: there's also an interpretive chorus, the "Body Rock Crew.") The moral, ghouls and girls, is that if you go to see theater and end up watching dance, then there's something rotten going on.

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