BWW Review: THE ACTOR'S NIGHTMARE, Park Theatre
The newly launched theatre company 3 hearts canvas take what's supposed to be a caustic look at the world of entertainment and asseble an array of Tony Award winner Christopher Durang's short plays directed by Lydia Parker.
The six standalone pieces span everything from awkward meetings with producers to a tragically unamusing stand-up comedian, and culminate with The Actor's Nightmare - which is exactly what is says on the tin. Durang toys with stereotypes with irony and sarcasm but the sardonic aura of the line-up lingers only on an inside joke level, never actually saying anything about the matter.
The attempts at satire are nipped in the bud by the general sense of vanity that permeates the show. Parker tries to arrange it sensibly, but the fact remains that the collection is a congestion of references that goes nowhere. Some instances definitely play with the sad reality of the entertainment business but, by presenting one-dimensional characters who turn into exasperating caricatures too quickly, no statement comes across through the supposedly farcical view of the industry.
The company do their best to pump blood into the show's funny vein. Not all of them succeed at any given chance and the mood definitely drops here and there, but Stefan Menaul and Adrian Richards leave their mark with their concoction of characters. Kate Sumpter's physical comedy is also impressive everything considered, while Layo-Christina Akinlude is dubiously unhumourous as the parodic version of Tennessee Williams' Blanche DuBois.
Camp Rock alum and co-funder of the company Meaghan Martin's parts are largely inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, not actually standing out in the group. The Actor's Nightmare isn't a nightmare of a show per se but it isn't a dream either, only landing as a vain, unfortunate experiment.
Photo credit: Ali Wright