Friday, October 20, 2006

Mr. Marmalade

Artists Repertory Theatre
October 18, 2006; closes November 19, 2006

Fascinatingly gruesome self-realization. Clever, disturbingly dark comedy is a contemporary Wonderland — a provocative, cynical, cracked-mirror perspective of nature of adulthood and its dysfunctional trappings. Larry’s exposition loses pace and, scriptwise, ending seems tad convenient. Otherwise crisp, smart, accessible; obsessively effortless engaging performances from Laura Faye Smith, Tim True, Michael Mendelson.

4 comments:

qk said...

I read this play in 'American Theatre Magazine' about a year ago and was very intrigued. It was exciting to see it staged and I think ART did a very decent job. Laura Faye Smith impresses once again. I really felt that the nostalgic sound design, a clever mix of Disney and Jazz standards, pulled it all together charmingly. Good pacing throughout as well--it never dragged or left me bored. All together a very thought-provoking and pleasantly disturbing show.

David said...

I enjoyed the show well enough, and I always like feeling 'safe' in the hands of such competent--more than competent--actors. But, I did feel let down as the drama didn't grow more unpredictable as it developed. It felt like a one-joke play--even it was a good joke.

What could have fixed this? Possibly, a more surprising, more grounded connection between the five-year-old's fantasy world and 'real life.' As is, that connection is assumed more than it's dramatized. The danger to these kids would have felt more real if the threat were a little more concrete (I did love that these kids could see each others 'imaginary' friends! That is SO right!)

This is a gut reaction. As a survivor of child abuse myself, I almost, but didn't quite, find my experience reflected here, as I would have liked. The compressed, claustrophobic, cave-dark world of domestic violence always needs to have light thrown into it.

Anonymous said...

Mindless junk.

Play aims low and production delivers.

Vaudeville slapstick stunts, desperate for a laugh at any price.

Throw away diversion.

Unintentional indictment of current level of American discourse and know-nothing irrelevance of race-to-bottom dumber-than-thou humor.

All this from what is supposedly one of Portland's major theaters.

Arts institutions taking a page from TV here?

Very much a child of our age. Don't say anything, just keep laughing. And everything will turn out fine.

No show in recent memory displays such a gulf between the talent of a cast and the inane material they are asked to play.

Anonymous said...

We obviously didn't see the same show. Mr. Marmalade was, without question, one the best shows (if not THE best show) to be produced in Portland this season. The only gripe I had about the show was that the music was annoying and undermined the production. Otherwise, it was a superb night of live theatre.