Saturday, December 13, 2008

Improbable Frequency

Photo/Carol Rosegg

Improbable indeed, that strained puns and cloying songs should be this fun, yet Improbable Frequency manages to cross the right signals, sending up the retro-kitsch of the '40s in everything from Alan Farquaharson's noirish set to Arthur Riordan's "everyone's a spy" plot, and from Bell Helicopter's jaunty jigs to Lynne Parker's hammy direction. Even the hero, Tristram Faraday (Peter Hanly) is a joke: he's a cruciverbalist, not a spy, as is his surprise rival, his former flame and now dancing double-agent, Agent Green (Cathy White). The romance is sweet, but also comedic, with sweet Philomena O'Shea (Sarah-Jane Drummey) looking to share "The Inner Specialness of Me" in what amounts to a very tuneful sex duet, "The Bedtime Jig." Once you accept that the world is being rewritten for laughs, it's easier to get behind songs like "Ready for the Wurst" or "Don't You Wave Your Particles at Me" (in which a lecherous Schrodinger is told off). The whole thing is still thirty minutes too long and the white-faced actors are distractingly surreal, but any show that makes a character eat feathers out of a newspaper (to illustrate that the chips are down) is at least novel enough to warrant a look and merit a listen.

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