Open: 08/04/06- Close: 08/27/06
Reviewed for TheaterOnline.com By: Fred McKinnon
A Shakespearean comedy it is not. Nor is it in the realm of Molière satire. Oscar Wilde's wit is nowhere to be found. It, indeed, is what its press material promises it to be: "madcap farce." Baby Hippopotamus Productions' "Weasel Erotic" is-without a doubt-wacky, zany and frenzied with an implausible plot, outlandish characters and copious amounts of comic shtick.
As the play opens, zoo employee Harry is attempting to drum up business for his boss when Mr. Grimm, the bad guy, reveals that he wants to close lovely Alison's animal enterprise so that he can use the property for greater financial gain. Enter wealthy widow Ms. Rittenrotten, who is nothing like her name suggests, and a plan is hatched to acquire two Brazilian Trouser Weasels (double entendre?) to generate customers and prevent the struggling animal park from folding. Professor Wagstaff, whatever his name suggests, is then enlisted to take care of the rare animals (Kitty and Ray-Ray), who eventually-in the guise of puppets, enthusiastically manipulated by Kimi Winkler and Jennifer Sandella-perform a mating ritual dance during which Roy (Allison's boyfriend) does a striptease. But that is not before Wagstaff, for perhaps some hidden meaning, relates "The Story of the Haunted Ship." There is also a scene in which the Monster-From-Under-Your-Bed makes an appearance, disrupting a romantic encounter.
These are just a few of the entanglements in Act I of this theatrical romp under the unpredictable direction of Melissa Jo Talent, who also had a hand in the chaotic script, along with King Talent and Daniel Guyton. The cast of nine do a fine job in what, I suppose, they are supposed to be doing, but particularly outstanding for me (unambiguously a high point) was Ms. Rittenrotten's (Rebecca Sponseller) singing rendition of the Gershwins' "Embraceable You."
After free refreshments being offered during intermission, Act II resumes where the play left off and swiftly (in less than a half hour) comes to a happy, if not completely logical, ending with a coda of a dancing musical finale.
Earlier in the evening I had asked the couple sitting next to me what brought them to this particular not-so air conditioned subterranean theater on a steamy summer night. Their answer sang the praises of Off-Off-Broadway. "This is the New York tourists don't know about. You're never sure of what you might see, but the actors and actresses give it their all. They always seem to be having fun." After my experiencing this production, that seems like the most reasonably rational conclusion for wanting to attend "Weasel Erotica."
Looking Glass Theatre : 422 W 57th St