Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Tag: David Greenspan

The Mystery of Irma Vep | Charles Ludlam | Directed by Kenneth Elliott | Starring David Greenspan and Tom Aulino | Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, Long Island

This play is hilarious – one laugh after another, and done with style and vivacity.  I enjoyed every moment – and smile thinking back to it.

It’s a spooky take-off on Gothic melodrama, Shakespeare, Alfred Hitchcock, the Bronte sisters, Rebecca,and other sources of scary and mysterious goings-on, set mainly in (where else?) an English manor house, Mandacrest Estate.  Lord Edgar has recently married Lady Enid but the presence of Edgar's deceased first wife, Irma Vep, whose portrait dominates the sitting room, is inescapable.  All the characters including Edgar and Enid, the one-legged swineherd Nicodemus, the maid Jane and four others, are played by a total of two actors of the same sex — as per the author's instructions because the cross-dressing, as well as the hilarious costumes and faster-than-the-speed-of-light character and costume changes, are all part of the fun. 

And fun it is as the play mounts from one wildly-imaginative episode to the next.  Each time you think you’ve caught on to what Ludlam is doing, he ups the ante with a farther inventive leap.

But the play wouldn’t work for three delicious acts if it were only a joke.  As a married couple, and as lovers, Lord Edgar and Lady Enid need to find the way to one another, while embattled by werewolves and vampires and life’s complicated back stories.  All the camp and ironies in the world wouldn’t make it interesting if it weren’t, bottom line, about genuine characters – even if they are nuttily hyperbolic.

David Greenspan, whether playing the former actress given to dramatics, Lady Enid, or the low-class swineherd in a greatcoat worthy of Sherlock Holmes – to say nothing of a stint as an Egyptian dancing girl – is brilliant.  Tom Aulino who shifts in the twinkling of an eye from Maid Jane dusting the furniture to Lord of the Manor dragging in the huge wolf he’s just shot  (oh no, the wrong wolf!) is equally a marvel.  The actors seem to defy the laws of physics in making those changes of costume and character.  But they do, with charismatic wit and breathtaking intensity.

What a clever play!  What a perfect production!  

The Mystery of Irma Vep  plays at Bay Street Theatre on the wharf in Sag Harbor, Long Island, through July 28, 2013.  For more information and tickets, click on live link of title.

Yvonne Korshak

Comments very welcome.  Scroll down, click on "comments," write in comment box and click on "post."  Emails are confidential — no emails ever appear with comments.

Review | Go Back To Where You Are by David Greenspan | Directed by Leigh Silverman | Playwrights Horizons | Peter Jay Sharp Theater

… transformations …

The setting, the deck of Claire’s beach house around Montauk, on the East End of Long Island, is delightful and the play is pleasant in a summery way well into it, with sun shining on the deck, the ocean near by, and a touch of the magic of time travel. Lunch is being prepared, conversations swirl, tensions emerge among the characters to keep things interesting. Claire’s a successful actress while her friend and fellow actress, Charlotte, has to scramble for parts. Tom’s a successful producer, on hand because he’s working with Claire on her next play, but he and his partner Malcolm are at odds because of Tom’s compulsive promiscuity.  

Read More

Review | Orlando, from Virginia Woolf’s Novel | Adapted by Sarah Ruhl | Directed by Rebecca Taichman, choreographed by Annie-B Parson, with Annika Boras, Francesca Faridany, David Greenspan, Tom Nelis and Howard Overshown | Classic Stage Company

… another great first act …

The first act of Orlando is a kind of enchantment — like falling in on Prospero’s island.  We are in the 17th Century:  Orlando appears as a swashbuckling young nobleman in a solo sword dance beautifully choreographed by Annie-B Parson.  We go on to follow his adventures, his love adventures, that is — we never see him do much else with the sword.  Much is narrated, with the playwright, Sarah Ruhl, using Virginia Woolf’s words from the novel, which adds to the sense of magical “Once upon a time … “  This is a play about liminality, in gender, in modes of story telling, and in time.  We understand quickly that boundaries are permeable, and everything can change into its other.   It’s a wonderful beginning.   

Read More

Review | The Myopia, An Epic Burlesque of Tragic Proportion | Written and Performed by David Greenspan | Directed by Brian Mertes | Foundry Theatre

The Myopia, an epic burlesque of tragic proportion, written and performed by David Greenspan, directed by Brian Mertes, The Foundry Theatre

David Greenspan, photo Jon Wasserman

David Greenspan has all the characteristics of a fine performer — he’s charming, is an excellent actor, has an expressive voice and body, and is an exceptional impersonator, but what makes what he does essential to see is that he’s so smart.  He “gets” everything, just like you do.  It’s so satisfying — and validating!  You feel in your heart yes, I understand, yes, I know just what you mean.  At last!

Read More

Review | Coraline | Music and Lyrics by Stephin Merritt | Book by David Greenspan | Based on Neil Gaiman’s novel | Directed by Leigh Silverman | MCC Theater | Lucille Lortel Theatre

The novel is an international best seller, the movie has grossed over $80 million, there’s a movie tie-in edition, a movie collector’s edition, a graphic novel, a visual companion, and a video game, and now a brilliant group of New York theater people have produced a musical play.

This makes sense.  This production, however, in its intense and imaginative focus on the weird visual effects and surrealistic juxtapositions, loses somewhat the thread of the human story.

Read More

Review | David Greenspan performs Gertrude Stein’s Lecture PLAYS | Foundry Theatre | Cherry Lane Theatre

… intelligence at work …

There is a theatrical genius among us:  David Greenspan. On two Mondays in February this charismatic actor and writer performed Gertrude Stein’s lecture about plays as a monologue, Greenspan/Stein.  He characterizes her without imitating her.  How?  By finding the thought processes that lie behind the words and conveying them through his expressions, rhythms, changes of pace and gestures.  The audience concentrates intensely.  The effect:  Stein’s muddy though purposeful lecture takes on the suspense of an action thriller.

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén