What better way to deal with the pain of losing my acting-class crutch, than to step out and see a new show? None, I say! And if the venue is the venerable and belovedly decrepit Carleton Tavern? So much the better. And so much I in fact did, heading out tonite to the Carleton to see Chamber Theatre‘s MECHANICSVILLE MONOLOGUES II, the sequel to last years popular show (that I couldn’t make it into, it was so well received). I was well stoked to see this’un, and I’m always pleased to be able to drink quarts of 50 while I enjoy.
This is an unabashedly filthy, raunchy show, and I god-damned well loved every motherfucking minute of it. There are two dee-liteful framing sequences, one involving Tony Adams (Speakers, You Are Here) and Lesley
Hay as two increasingly disreputable real estate agents, and another with trombonist Robert Vogelsang (note: Second play I saw in a week featuring a trombone. WTF?) accompanying the always amazing Kelly Rigole (This Is A Recording) as a particularly racy burlesque singer.
“Let’s see if I can make you cum while you drive.”*
Yes, that’s right, this show starts out with Kelly Rigole doing burlesque. Note to the heterosexual males/lesbians in the audience: Congratulations. You’ve already won. And it gets even better! The show is a hit parade of one-person tales set in Mechanicsville, some in the present, some in the past, all written by one Donnie Laflamme, who clearly has some things to say. And there are some great performances to go along with the words…Manon Dumas kills as a 60’s housewife looking to win the stale sandwich wars on her block, and Bob Reynolds as the Man in the Basement has the room in the palm of his hand. And certainly, Cory Thibert’s take on Bridgehead will have most of us watching the strollers a little more closley from now on.
“Look at the cookies, look at the cookies, look at the cookies…”
The show is heavy on sexual politics, with several segments devoted to delving into the complexities of the changing face of women’s sexual power in the last few decades, and whether it’s done them any damn bit of good. Laine Johnson (and did you give me my volunteer interview at the GCTC this summer? Because I swear you did) and Jennifer Vallance both have segments filled to brimming with interesting insights on the matter. And the always reliable Garret Quirk (Death of Tybalt, Shining City) scores a solid home run as ‘the lover’, a sex-obsessed lothario practicing his moves in a mirror. honestly, there’s a lot to love in this show, and even though EVERY thing didn’t work for me, so fucking what? It’s a buffet, people, something will come along that’s just for you.
“Dear Tenant: Get all your shit the fuck out of here, then fuck off and die.”
Laflamme’s script is often hysterical, sometimes heartbreaking, and never dull. The actors give great performances, even with the rather obtrusive backdrop of the Carleton Tavern to deal with (don’t expect to hear a pin drop during this show), and I bloody loved the whole sordid, blasphemous mess. I only wish my issues with my server hadn’t soured the end of the evening for me, and forced me to do my last-minute scribblings at the Royal Oak instead. And I’d so wanted another quart and a cheeseburger…
But whatevah! Beers come and go, wicked fun theatre comes along only so often. This is the latter, and you should shut up with whatever you’re saying (no one was listening anyways, because you’re so boring) and get out to the Tavern and catch this show. Hell, I’m even thinking of trying to catch it again NEXT week, when Oberholzer subs in for Matt Smith as the shirtmaker…not that Smith was anything less than awesome, you get that, right? And don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll sort out my server woes by then. Until then, peace, love and soul to you all,
The Visitor (and Winston)
* Hey, Donnie, Lisa…I fixed it! I swear I’m not a complete pussy, I just need encouragement sometimes! 🙂 Nice meeting ya!