The Komisar Scoop Reports & Analysis by Investigative Journalist Lucy Komisar

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pinter’s “Old Times” teases and fascinates with memory and fantasy

Filed under: Theater — Lucy Komisar @ 9:40 pm

By Lucy Komisar

Pinter is a wonderful trickster, playing games with the audience as they watch characters on the stage playing games with each other. This one, first staged in 1971, is about memory, or imagining, or both.

Clive Owen as Deeley, Kelly Reilly as Kate, Eve Best as Anna, photo Joan Marcus.

Clive Owen as Deeley, Kelly Reilly as Kate, Eve Best as Anna, photo Joan Marcus.

And the actors   — Clive Owen, Eve Best and Kelly Reilly — pull it off and pull the audience in subtly, as if they were hardly trying. Credit director Douglas Hodge for getting the mystery right.

Deeley (Owen) and Kate (Reilly) are a married couple living in the country, a ways from London. Anna (Best) arrives for a visit. But the start is curious. Anna is wearing an elegant cocktail dress with a halter top and open back, very high heels, not what you’d wear to dinner at the country house of middle class friends.

Anna is strong, sensual. Katy is reticent, timid. Deeley is mild but not unassertive.

As the conversation goes on, they are looking back to memory, but they remember different things. Kate knew Anna. But did Deeley? And what’s the point of Kate telling Deeley that Anna, her roommate, wore her underwear? What was the relationship between Kate and Anna?

Kelly Reilly as Kate, Eve Best as Anna, Clive Owen as Deeley, photo Joan Marcus.

Kelly Reilly as Kate, Eve Best as Anna, Clive Owen as Deeley, photo Joan Marcus.

Bit by bit pieces of the memory puzzle fit together. As Pinter often does, the facts move between the present and the past.

The women recall their girlish memories as secretaries sitting in cafes with writers, artists, and actors.

Kate offers Anna a coffee. Odd, I thought, for an evening cocktail hour drink. When Deeley asks, “Do you drink brandy?” Anna quickly assents.

Music pulsates, and a circular eye on the backdrop turns. Light flashes over long purple couches that are sometimes beds.

Eve Best as Anna, Clive Owen as Deeley, photo Joan Marcus.

Eve Best as Anna, Clive Owen as Deeley, photo Joan Marcus.

Anna says that she now lives in a villa in Sicily. The conversation appears to reprise the past. She and Deeley do a medley of tunes from the American songbook. Their language is lines from songs. Anna: “I get no kick from champagne.” Is that underlining fantasy? They talk about Kate as if she weren’t there.

We learn that Deely and Kate met at a cinema 20 years ago. Kate was interested in the arts. Deely remarks that his job takes him traveling. He says, “I probably caught a glimpse of that villa.” Anna’s villa.

Kate leaves them to take a bath. That is odd if there is company. Is there really company?

Kelly Reilly as Kate, Clive Owen as Deeley, photo Joan Marcus.

Kelly Reilly as Kate, Clive Owen as Deeley, photo Joan Marcus.

Deely remembers picking up a young woman in a bar and taking her to a party where he sat looking up her skirt. At underwear. Hmm, is that Kate’s underwear. What does that mean? Kate remembers a man sobbing in her room, bent over her bed. “Then he left, as if I were dead.” Deely tells Kate that he and Anna met before.

Then surprise, Kate tells Anna, “I remember you lying dead. You didn’t know I was watching you. I leaned over you. Your face was dirty. You lay dead, your face scrawled with dirt, all kinds of earnest inscriptions, but unblotted, so that they had run, all over your face, down to your throat. Your sheets were immaculate. I was glad. I would have been unhappy if your corpse had lain in an unwholesome sheet.” True? Fantasy?

Clive Owen as Deeley, Eve Best as Anna, Kelly Reilly as Kate, photo Joan Marcus.

Clive Owen as Deeley, Eve Best as Anna, Kelly Reilly as Kate, photo Joan Marcus.

I found it all engrossing, fascinating, and perfectly acted by the three. Best as Anna is strong and erotic, Reilly as Katy is childlike, diffident. Owen as Deeley seems quite normal, but you wonder if he has been bested by the women.

So is this a memory of life, past, death, is Anna really there? And what was the relation between/among any of the three? Well, it’s Pinter, so you’ll never be sure.

Old Times.” Written by Harold Pinter. Directed by Douglas Hodge. Roundabout Theatre Company at American Airlines Theatre, 227 West 42nd Street, New York City. 212-719-1300. Opened Oct 6, 2015; closes Nov 29, 2015. 10/26/15.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

“Texts&beheadings/ElizabethR” is Coonrod’s brilliant feminist take on Elizabeth

Filed under: Theater — Lucy Komisar @ 2:24 pm

By Lucy Komisar

In this stunning artistic and feminist biography of Elizabeth I, Karen Coonrod tells us what most of us never knew about that 16th-century British monarch. She was first of all very, very smart, in politics. She was also studied and intelligent, poetic in her speaking and writing, and a polyglot – we hear her speak Italian, Spanish, German. She was subtle, but tough when it mattered. From Coonrod’s plays, built from Elizabeth’letters, speeches, poems, and prayers, you feel you are meeting an amazing woman!

Monique Barbee, Christina Spina, Ayeje Feamster, Juliana Francis-Kelly, photo Julieta Cervantes.

Monique Barbee, Christina Spina, Ayeje Feamster, Juliana Francis-Kelly, photo Julieta Cervantes.

The play starts with four gold high ladder-backed chairs set within a red rectangle painted on a black floor. (Set by John Conklin.) Four woman arrive, in steel gray or silver or black gowns. There’s a background noise like radio interference, or is it a mob?

They speak across each other or sometimes join as a chorus. The play is divided into four movements, as if in a musical piece. Which it sometimes it is, with music – folk of the times or oratorio — by Gina Leishman. Each actor is Elizabeth in one of the movements, which are arranged by theme, not chronology in her life..

In the first movement, Strategy, Elizabeth (Cristina Spina, with an Italian charm and accent) dances a court dance. “Let tyrants fear,” she declares.

Just before her coronation, John Knox in Geneva writes, “To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, the subversion of good order, of all equity and justice.” It is printed in his pamphlet, “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.”

Juliana Francis-Kelly, Monique Barbee, Ayeje Feamster, photo Julieta Cervantes.

Juliana Francis-Kelly, Monique Barbee, Ayeje Feamster, photo Julieta Cervantes.

Well! There are rumors of Elizabeth as oversexed, with bastards in hiding. Parliament pushes her to marry. She declares, “I will have no mistress, no master, no war.” It’s an Elizabeth we didn’t know.

There’s a poetry slam with Walter Raleigh. And the Pope excommunicates her!

Between the “movements” are “games.” The first is a droll put-down of the comic suitors, with various named nobles arriving, some goose stepping, holding red paper flowers.

Ayeje Feamster, Juliana Francis-Kelly, Christina Spina, photo Julieta Cervantes.

Ayeje Feamster, Juliana Francis-Kelly, Christina Spina, photo Julieta Cervantes.

Elizabeth (Monique Barbee) in movement 2 must achieve Survival. At 21, she is kept prisoner in the Tower by her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. She thinks she will die in the Tower like her mother, Anne Boleyn, beheaded by her father Henry.

Game 2, she is in mourning for her father, and in a garden, birds slash her black dress to ribbons.

In movement 3, Prayers, Ayeje Feamster offers them in Spanish. The four kneel and sing a poetic “Mirabile” as a cantata. Sometimes Feamster’s black accent comes through, deliberately.

Game 3 Dissing Elizabeth calls up the sound of voices as in stadium. The attacks printed on red papers are handed out to the audience.

Juliana Francis-Kelly, Ayeje Feamster, Christina Sina, photo: Julieta Cervantes,

Ayeje Feamster, Monique Barbee, Christina Spina, photo: Julieta Cervantes,

Pope Pius V in a Papal Bull denouncing her in 1570 called her “…the pretended Queen of England, the serpent of wickedness…”

“Oh Lord, the Queen’s a woman!” said an astonished housewife at the Coronation Passage of Elizabeth in January 1559.

“She must have a hundred thousand devils in her body,” said the Bishop de Quadra, who handled marriage negotiations on behalf of Archduke Charles of Austria in 1563.

The snide Catherine de Medici declared, “After what everyone tells me of her great beauty, and after the paintings I have seen, I must declare that she did not have good painters.”

But hear this view by Pope Sixtus V: “She certainly is a great Queen, and were she only a Catholic, she would be our dearly beloved daughter. Just look how well she governs! She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island, and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire, by all…what a wife she would make! What children we would have! They would have ruled the whole world!”

Movement 4, is, aha! Sovereignty! Here the very regal Juliana Francis-Kelly is Queen.

Juliana Francis-Kelly, photo Julieta Cervantes.

Juliana Francis-Kelly, photo Julieta Cervantes.

Dealing with Mary, she refuses to kill her. You have “attempted to take my life and to bring my kingdom to destruction by bloodshed.” She will keep her imprisoned but alive for almost two decades.

As a monarch, Elizabeth is fearless, tough. In a letter to a courtier who complements her on her command of foreign languages, she says hold your tongue. And she declares, “I am more afraid of making a fault in my Latin than of the kings of Spain, France, Scotland and the whole house of Guise,” a French ducal family.

Game 4 is dressing for the coronation. As piece after piece of skirt and bodice and jewelry is (figuratively) thrown on, you get a sense of how heavy was her obligation.

The four actors are excellent, each providing a different mood, interpretation of Elizabeth. And Coonrod directs/conducts the production like a symphony of words, movement, music.

What a view Coonrod gives us of a masterful woman who fought and rose above the sexism of the time (of all time) to exercise her power. What great imagination and talent Coonrod has. Her play deserves a much wider audience.

Texts&beheadings/ElizabethR.” Created and directed by Karin Coonrod. Compagnia de’ Colombari, BAM Fisher/ Fishman Space Fisher, 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn.  718-636-4100. Tkts $25, open seating. October 21- 24, 2015. 10/24/15.




Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cabaret greats glitter in jazzy accents at Town Hall

Filed under: Cabaret & Jazz — Lucy Komisar @ 8:48 pm
Andrea Marcovicci

Andrea Marcovicci

By Lucy Komisar

Jazzy tunes reached the best notes at the annual New York Cabaret Convention sponsored by the Mabel Mercer Foundation, whose artistic director KT Sullivan is a major cabaret singer herself. This was the 26th annual event, and over four evenings it brought major American singers to Town Hall. There were about 60 performers. I was there the last three nights, October 14-16, 2015, and attempt here to acknowledge the best.

It was appropriate that the opening number of “A Sentimental Journey,” about the songs of World War II, was by Andrea Marcovicci, the doyenne of cabaret singers. In white gown with black sequins, she effortlessly sang/performed “I’ve heard that song before,” (lyrics Sammy Cahn; music Jule Styne). She took you to the 40s, bringing drama to the words. Later, she would do “These foolish things remind me of you,” effortlessly engaging you in the story, showing why she is a cabaret great.

Todd Murray.

Todd Murray.

For another trip, Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock (he at the piano), played with notes, phrasing, stops and starts, as they “took a trip on a train and…thought about you.” I loved Fasano’s sophisticated moody drawn-out notes, “Love is funny or it’s sad….” (lyrics, Johnny Burke, music James Van Heusen).

Celia Berk in a glittery jacket showed herself as a classy lady with charm and wit as she sang the sad/comic plaint of women left at home by soldiers: “They’re either too young or too old,” (lyrics Frank Loesser, music Arthur Schwartz).

Todd Murray was a terrific crooner in the 1943 hit “You never know just how much I miss you,” (lyrics Mack Gordon, music Harry Warren). His voice was full, elegant, a perfect songman of the 40s.

Contralto Iris Williams has a warm sophisticated voice that showed a little French trill as she sang “The last time I saw Paris,” (lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, music Jerome Kern). She conjured up a French chanteuse.

Karen Akers, photo Joseph Marzullo/WENN.

Karen Akers, photo Joseph Marzullo/WENN.

 Karen Akers, also a smooth contralto, went one better in perfectly accented French performing “J’attendrai ton retour.” I will await your return, (lyrics Nino Rastelli, music Dino Olivieri).

People were waiting for Carol Bufford, who was described by the MC as “mesmerizing.” From the South, she has a certain inflection that makes her sound like a torch singer. In a glittery purple sequined gown, her jazzy rendition of “Someday (You’ll Want Me To Love You)” filled the hall, suffused it with emotion, (lyrics Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, Brad Jordan, music Jimmie Hodges).

Nathalie Douglass belted “I’ll be home for Christmas” in a strong jazzy voice, (lyrics Kim Gannon, music Walter Kent.)

Marissa Mulder showed herself a sweet ingénue in “I’ll be seeing you (in all the old familiar places),” (lyrics Irving Kahal, music Sammy Fain).

A special treat was provided by German singer Karen Kohler doing “Lilli Marlene” (lyrics Hans Leip, music Norbert Schultze). The poem by a German World War I soldier about his girlfriend was set to music in 1938. It was loved by soldiers on all fronts.

Karen Kohler.

Karen Kohler.

But Kohler declared, “We cannot romanticize our wars or we’ll never stop fighting them.” She said that in 1991, Schultze had added a verse about the Gulf War, which includes these stunning lines (Kohler’s translation):

Is it for the honor?
Or merely for the fight?
What has taken over
Our reason and our sight?
No matter how we spin it and what we say,
We’ll stand before the Judge one day.
One day, Lili Marlene, one day, Lili Marlene.

Who shall hide the dead scattered
Wide in desert sands?
Who shall count the victims
Of all the oil-stained lands?
How much more suffering will there be,
Until the madness we will see?
Oh God, Lili Marlene! O God, Lili Marlene!

From our silent spaces,
From the earthly green,
Your pale, dead mouth shall lift me.
I see it in my dream.
Now before the darkness turns once more,
Let’s bring an end to hate and war.
Today, Lili Marlene! Today, Lili Marlene!

Life is a Cabaret: The songs of Kander and Ebb.

John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote plays over five decades, from 1965 to 2015, among them Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spiderwoman.

Karen Mason.

Karen Mason.

MC Karen Mason began the show with “All that Jazz,” from Chicago. She started cool and went hot with jazzy, guttural highs and lows in the edgy language of Bob Fosse who choreographed and co-wrote the show. In other numbers during the evening, she pulled us in with her story telling.

Then Karen Ziemba, who performed in Steel Pier as the marathon dancer Rita Racine, gave a great musical theater performance of “Second Chance,” her powerful belt-em-out voice tingling with color and hope.

Amra-Faye Wright, starring as Velma in Chicago, did a number from The Act (1977). She’s a little old lady on the porch of a farm house and, with a voice worthy of Broadway, declares that she misses the city lights. Then with a glittery hat and two male dancers from Chicago, Wright treated us to Fosse-style verve and boisterous charm, a highlight of the evening.

Robert Creighton.

Robert Creighton.

Robert Creighton, who played Amos in Chicago, did a show-stopping rendition of “Mr. Cellophane,” about a guy who nobody notices. And I liked his tough-guy “The Life of the Party” from The Happy Time, (1968) where he declared with aggressive swagger, “beside the caviar and chocolate soufflé you’ve got to have me there — the life of the party.”

Sally Mays was dramatic and perky as Fräulein Schneider in Cabaret singing “So What.” “For the sun will rise/ And the moon will set/ And learn how to settle/ For what you get.”

I liked Sandy Sharlott’s jazzy, interpretation of “I am my own best friend” from Chicago.

Jim Brochu.

Jim Brochu.

Jim Brochu is a writer/actor/singer of prodigious talents, and on this evening he became Zorba from the Kander and Ebb show. Gruff, with panache, he transported us to the musical stage where he acted and sang the role.

Anna Rafe Wright did a terrific duet with Steve Ross inquiring, in a comic, deadpan, “What ever happened to class?” It was sung in Chicago by killer Velma and a prison matron. I loved the Wright-Ross version.

Lauren Stanford, a new gal on the cabaret block, was a charming ingénue with a clear soprano in “A Quiet Thing,” from the play of 1965.

Not so quiet was T. Oliver Reed doing “Razzle Dazzle” (Chicago again). Reed, a terrific tenor, gave us the glint of a con man and a bit of Fosse soft shoe. He dazzled the audience. Then he added elegant dramatics to “The Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

Penny Fuller.

Penny Fuller.

It seemed near the end when Penny Fuller, in the full spirit of the play, reprised the major songs from Cabaret. She was the original Sally Bowles in 1966 and did “Wilkommen,” then channeled Lotte Lenya in “Don’t Tell Mama,” and finished as a British Sally singing in the Berlin cabaret. It was a great almost finish.

Almost, because Marilyn Maye was kept till last. Now 87, her sound is still as strong as a horn. She offered a sense of hope and also sorrow in a jazzy torch song from Cabaret, “Maybe this time I’ll be lucky.”

“What I Did for…Taking a Chance on LOVE”

This last evening was divided between the music of Vernon Duke and Marvin Hamlisch.

I was fascinated to learn Duke’s history. Vladimir Aleksandrovich Dukelsky came to the U.S. in 1921, escaping the civil war in Russia. He was a classical composer. A year later, he met George Gershwin, added a new style and, at Gershwin’s suggestion, a new name, Vernon Duke. His hits included “April in Paris” (1932), “Autumn in New York” (1934), “I Like the Likes of You” (1934), and “I Can’t Get Started” (1936).

Alexis Cole.

Alexis Cole.

Alexis Cole, in a flowing white gown that evoked the mood, did a delightful rendition of “April in Paris,” lyrics by E. Y. (“Yip”) Harburg (1932) with a hint of jazz, sudden up notes and an ethereal sound turning the words into poetry.

John Ryan was a comic apparition in a suit of red, orange and blue patches, but did a fine jazzy medley, calling up the styles of Bobby Short and Lena Horne, first for “I Like the Likes of You” (Harburg, 1933) and then for “Cabin in the Sky” (lyrics by John La Touche, 1940).

Soprano Shana Farr astonished us by singing without a mike. Elegant in a long silvery gown, she held everyone’s attention for a bell-sweet “The Love I Long For,” from Sadie Thompson (lyrics Howard Dietz, 1944).

Eric Yves Garcia.

Eric Yves Garcia.

Eric Yves Garcia has a great rich baritone and charms with his jazzy inflection. He accompanied his “I Can’t Get Started” (Ira Gershwin’s lyrics) from The Ziegfield Follies of 1936 with a terrific jive piano.

Tammy Mccann has a rich lovely lazy voice with a range from low to high, and a hint of the South in those sulky low notes. They came through in “Autumn in New York,” (1934) for which Duke also wrote the words.

Marvin Hamlisch was a composer of the next generation, beginning in the 60s. His parents were immigrants from Vienna, and he went to Queens College. He did the music for The Way We Were, The Sting, A Chorus Line, and more.

Raissa Katona Bennett.

Raissa Katona Bennett.

Raissa Katona Bennett, with a soft sweet soprano, created an ethereal mood for “Ordinary miracles,” with lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman.

Eva Kantor matched a nice soprano with a show biz mood in the comic “A Beat Behind,” (lyrics by David Zippel) from The Goodbye Girl.

I liked Valerie Lemon, whose rich soprano elevated “That’s How I Say Goodbye” (lyrics Craig Carnelia).

Of course a longtime favorite is Marieanne Meringolo, whose mid-range voice and style is perfect for the cabaret mood. It was just right for the jazz inflection she brought to her rendition of “The Way We Were,” (lyrics Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman).

This October in New York, sophistication reigned.

Next year’s event will be October 18-21, 2016 at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, Broadway and 60th Street.

The 26th New York Cabaret Convention. Mabel Mercer Foundation. Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, New York City. Oct. 13-16, 2015. 10/21/15.


Friday, October 16, 2015

“Cloud Nine” cleverly skewers British imperialism, falls flat a century later

Filed under: Theater — Lucy Komisar @ 3:42 pm

By Lucy Komisar

Cloud Nine, of course, is that place of ecstasy in the metaphorical sky where love and/or sex takes one.

Caryl Churchill’s 1979 play is a quirky la ronde set in Africa in 19th-century Victorian times and London in 1979. Except that most of the characters of the second half are the same as the first, played by different actors. And compressing time, the events of Act 2 take place only 25 years later.

The wit of the first part, skewering British imperialism, racism, sexism, makes the cartoon empire and its inhabitants bitingly funny. Director James Macdonald paints the satire with delicate brush strokes.

Sean Dugan as Joshua, Brooke Bloom as Edward, Clark Thorell as Clive, Chris Perfetti as Betty, photo Doug Hamilton.

Sean Dugan as Joshua, Brooke Bloom as Edward, Clark Thorell as Clive, Chris Perfetti as Betty, photo Doug Hamilton.

Lacking comparable politics, the second part bogs down in people’s soap-operish confusion, unhappiness and coming to terms about sex. It is tedious and boring.

The first part occurs in British colonial Africa, where Clive (Clarke Thorell), in black boots, jodhpurs and a white jacket with cravat, presides self-importantly over his family and retainers. He mimics the hierarchy of the larger world he admires, the British empire and the Queen, in the attitude he displays towards his wife, children and servants. Of course, the hypocrisy is thick enough to cut. And in rhymed couplets, yet.

The British flag is unfurled at the start by an African servant, Joshua (played by a white man, Sean Dugan), who loves his master and denigrates “his people,” who he insists are not his people.

“My skin is black but oh my soul is white.
I hate my tribe. My master is my light.
I only live for him. As you can see,
What white men want is what I want to be.”

Clarke Thorell as Clive and Chris Perfetti as Betty, photo Doug Hamilton.

Clarke Thorell as Clive and Chris Perfetti as Betty, photo Doug Hamilton.

Dugan intones this self-hatred with a stone face, as if he were a robot.

Almost echoing that, wife Betty (played by a man, Chris Perfetti), is equally supine, declaring that all she wants is to serve:

“I live for Clive. The whole aim of my life
Is to be what he looks for in a wife.
I am a man’s creation as you see,
And what men want is what I want to be.”

The point being that women are servants with servants’ mentalities. And don’t worry, things will get worse.

Chris Perfetti as Betty and John Sanders as Harry Bagley, photo Doug Hamilton.

Chris Perfetti as Betty and John Sanders as Harry Bagley, photo Doug Hamilton.

Not all is as it seems. In a variation of La Ronde, everyone in the entourage pursues another. Clive is smitten by a neighbor, the assertive Mrs. Saunders (well played by Izzie Steele), whose husband has died. Betty is smitten by Harry Bagley (John Sanders), a macho fellow in bush jacket and pants who spends most of his time in the jungles. Harry has had a secret relationship with young Edward (a devilish Brooke Bloom), Clive and Betty’s son, who dismays his parents by playing with a doll. Then there is Ellen the governess (also Izzie Steele), who has a thing for Betty. Perfetti does Betty without too much camp.

Churchill is wonderful at mixing racism and sexism. Bagley tells Saunders, “You have been thought of where no white woman has been thought of before.” Shortly after, he says to Joshua, “Shall we go into the barn and f—k.”

Clarke Thorell as Clive and Izzie Steele as Mrs. Saunders, photo Doug Hamilton.

Clarke Thorell as Clive and Izzie Steele as Mrs. Saunders, photo Doug Hamilton.

At one point Clive disappears under Saunders’ skirt. She says, “I wish I didn’t enjoy the sensation, because I don’t like you, Clive.”

Not too long after, suspicious of Bagley and Betty, Clive tells his wife, “Women can be treacherous and evil. They are darker and more dangerous than men. The family protects us from that.” But if she were unfaithful, his duty would be to cast her off.

Clive talks of natives as savages. He orders Joshua to flog the stable boys. He explains with no hint of irony, “You can tame a wild animal only so far. They revert to their true nature and savage your hand. Sometimes I feel the natives are the enemy. I know that is wrong. I know I have a responsibility towards them, to care for them and bring them all to be like Joshua.” But we see who the real savages are.

The darkness of the comedy, of course, is that these caricatured figures were true. And in the 1970s, following a period of feminist and political radicalism, there was ironic humor in that pointed look back.

But in the second act, taking place in 1979, there are no more obeisances to the male/female couple, just some largely joyless coupling. The problem with this very tedious Act 2, is that it’s just a ronde of people’s sexual predilections without much wit at all. Or maybe the wit is too broad.

Front John Sanders as Martin and Clarke Thorell as Cathy, back Brooke Bloom as Betty, Chris Perfetti as Edward, photo Doug Hamilton.

Front John Sanders as Martin and Clarke Thorell as Cathy, back Brooke Bloom as Betty, Chris Perfetti as Edward, photo Doug Hamilton.

I did like over-the-top Cathy (Clarke Thorell, who has traded his black boots for saddle shoes and pigtails). Cathy’s mother Lin (Izzie Steele) is a teacher and a lesbian who declares, “I hate men.”

Betty is leaving her dreadful husband and lauds self-pleasuring. Edward is gay.

Another character, Martin (Sanders), says “I have read the Hite report,” and “I’m writing a novel about women from the women’s point of view.”

Was Churchill trying to skewer the new “liberated” attitudes about sex? If she was, I didn’t find any of it clever.

Cloud Nine.” Written by Caryl Churchill, directed by James Macdonald. Atlantic Theater Company, 336 W 20th St, New York City. 866-811-4111. Opened Oct 6, 2015; closes Nov 1, 2015. 10/16/15.



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