BWW Reviews: PRIVATE DANCER Leaves Much To Be Desired
Directed by Bob Degus, PRIVATE DANCER is the story is focused on the troubled life of the famed Rita Hayworth and is told additionally through film and dance. Sage Snakechalmer, however, the star and playwright, gives an awkward mess of a performance.
After an extended hold to be seated due to "a technical issue", the audience enters an intimate, yet decent sized house. The stage is set with minimal props, as it is for the remainder of the show. The show begins with pre-recorded footage of opening titles, putting the show off the a good, creative start. Unfortunately, this feeling quickly fades.
Overall, Snakechalmer's performance is a dull, half-hearted, monotone mess boasting, at best, of a bored Hilary Banks. The approach was always the same, whether she was frustrated, drunk, sad, or even being beaten by her father; the emotional response was down-right lacking. The lack of energy was regrettable for this well-written script and all-around inspired idea. This feeling seemed unanimous for a restless audience that left complaining about everything from the late seating to the relief they felt that the performance had commenced.
The good: the sound design, musical composition, and the lights. The bad: the research of the overall look. Where were the false eyelashes? Where was the glamour? Why was the early Hollywood star strutting around the stage (when she could decide where she wanted to stand) in six-inch nude stilettos from 2013 Target? And, most importantly, why was the bad dye job played up by always costuming in red? In retrospect, there were strong positives within the production, but with a weak leading actress, they can only mean so much. However, it's fair to keep in mind that this is a stage debut of both the work and the actress, but it's not exactly a breakout.
"Private Dancer" plays 16 performances from December 1 through December 21 at The Lion Theatre on Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street. Performances are Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm with an added show on Monday December 2 at 7pm. For tickets, which are $35, call Telecharge at 212/239-6200, or visit www.telecharge.com or www.privatedancertheplay.com