BWW Reviews: Murray Mednick's Latest Bows at the Lounge Theatre
The Fool and the Red Queen
written by Murray Mednick
directed by Mednick and Guy Zimmerman
The Lounge Theatre
through June 24
After years of popularity with innovative 'realism-plus' theatre, Murray Mednick's work stands tall, and surprisingly this is my first taste of a Mednick play. I hope it's not my last! My first being The Fool and the Red Queen, now receiving its world premiere production at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood. With fine direction by Mednick and Guy Zimmerman and a noteworthy cast, the play is an intriguingly magical odyssey that may not suit everyone's tastebuds, but which will certainly compel, entertain, and maybe even enlighten.
With Mednick, it's not plot or action but language. The beauty of his play comes through his poetry, as it's written in iambic verse. This is not obvious to the listener, but somehow without realizing it, you get caught up in its rhythms to such a degree -even though you may be a bit confused about content - that you are completely and irresistibly pulled in.
The acting in Fool is first rate with special nods to Peggy A. Blow as Chorus/Innkeeper, whose depth of understanding and wisdom and beautiful vocal intonations make us perk up our ears at her every syllable. Prud'homme makes a perfectly monstrous, bitchy woman going through PMS - yet, she is completely fun and playful - and Celentano is delightfully droll and dextrous as Fool. Diehl plays Bean and Rikki as depressed beyond measure and Kehler and Palmer are quite amusing as the producers who have their way with their actors in putting together a piece with the intent of which they haven't the least comprehension. Set design by Jeffrey Atherton is vibrantly colorful as are costumes for Act II by Ann Closs-Farley and lighting desgin by Matt Richter superior. Fascinating pace and staging from Mednick and Zimmerman! With an inexplicable change of tone from one part to another and even within a scene containing such diverse highs and lows, it is easy to understand Mednick's early experience in vaudeville with its zany comedic twists and turns.
When all is said and done The Fool and the Red Queen provides a diliriously intelligent and riveting evening of theatre ... for those who want their theatre edgy and distinctly left of center.
Photo credit: Mark Barnes