Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Glance At New York

Axis Company

A troupe of 9 very earnest actors desperately follow the bouncing dialogue (Who's talking now?! What are they saying?! Hurry! Listen!!) in this revival of this 1848 vaudevillian melodrama about "Big Mose, the toughest man in the nation's toughest city". Stylistically, this hyperactive and busy concept worked for about 5 minutes before I started to feel assaulted and began to tune out. The rapid pace at which the lines were being delivered made it next to impossible for me to make sense of this 160 year old dialogue and I wasn't sure where I was supposed to look as 9 actors were all pulling focus with their own jaunty tasks. There was one moment towards the end of the play when everything stopped and the cast joined together and sang a soft, haunting melody. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous moment. As gorgeous as Lee Harper and Matthew Simonelli's ghostly, dusty costumes that look as though they were discovered in a forgotten trunk in the basement of this historical theater in Sheridan Square.

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