BWW Review: LOOPED at Connecticut Cabaret Theatre
On Saturday, February 22, I had the pleasure of seeing LOOPED at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin, CT. This comedy by Matthew Lombardo is based on a true story that took place back in 1965. Director Kris McMurray brings out the best in talented actress Kelly Boucher who stars as Tallulah Bankhead, as well as talented actor Chris Pearson, who plays Danny Miller. The stage chemistry between Kelly Boucher and Chris Pearson is comically brilliant, and further enhanced by James J. Moran, who provides live vocals from the back of the theatre, as Steve the sound engineer! The deliveries are sensational, from all three cast members, making all three characters completely believable. The facial expressions, body language, vocal tones and mannerisms displayed by Kelly Boucher and Chris Pearson, including their reactions to each other, are phenomenal, both staying in character the whole time, to the point in which as an audience member, it is easy to forget that you are not watching the real people who are being portrayed. The sharp contrast between Tallulah's over-the-top personality and Danny Miller's more professional and proper personality is where the majority of the humor arises. The audience was laughing all throughout the show!
The story centers around a 1965 sound recording session for the movie, Die! Die! My Darling in which actress Tallulah Bankhead shows up to the recording studio intoxicated, for the purpose of re-recording the sound of one line of dialogue. In her inebriated state, this process lasted about eight hours, much to the frustration of editor Danny Miller who much to his chagrin was spontaneously assigned to the challenging job of getting her to deliver her line, in the absence of the director. Tallulah, however, turned this into an opportunity to psychoanalyze Danny Miller, who was not a willing participant in her antics.
Tallulah Bankhead is very crass and unrefined, particularly for a woman of 1965. Even though she was in her sixties, she came across as a high school mean girl. Her flippant words are often vulgar, blasphemous, or derogatory towards certain groups of people, yet spoken with an unapologetic arrogance that would treat someone like Danny Miller who would take issue with her lack of class, as if he was the one with the problem. Even though she is drunk and on drugs, there are moments that she comes across as a complete psychopath who should be institutionalized. You really believe her when she claims that even her imaginary friend doesn't want to play with her. At the same time, you feel sorry for her, especially when she reveals more of what happened to her during her youth, which contributed to her adult personality. While she is a likable character from a comedic third party entertainment perspective, she does not come across as someone who would have been pleasant to interact with in real life. Her words are portrayed as the psychotic ramblings of a lunatic. Being that her words are frowned upon in tone, audience members are less likely to be offended by them. You can't help but marvel at the stellar delivery by Kelly Boucher.
I must admit, prior to this show, I had never heard the name Tallulah Bankhead, and my only familiarity with "Die! Die! My Darling!," a movie I am yet to see, is that such is also the title of a Misfits song that was brought to my attention in 1998 when Metallica covered it with incredible energy. Now, I am very curious to see the movie!
Does the line ever get successfully recorded, or after the eight hours, was the line just eliminated, as the ultimate in irony? You won't find that answer by watching the movie, because if you don't know which scripted line it was, you wouldn't be able to look for it in the movie. I'm not revealing that information, but if you come to the show, you can find out!
For mature audiences, I highly recommend LOOPED which is scheduled to continue to run at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin, CT, every Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 PM through March 21, 2020. Tickets can now be purchased online through the link found at https://ctcabaret.com/ or by calling the box office at 860-829-1248.