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Open: 04/24/09- Close: 05/23/09 The Nosemaker's Apprentice:
Chronicles Of A Medieval Plastic Surgeon

Reviewed for By: Lauren Wissot

A bitter divorced alcoholic and unlicensed plastic surgeon (Ian Lowe) tells a bedtime story to his wise beyond her years, eight-year-old daughter (Molly Ward). It’s a fantastic tale of the medieval roots of reconstructive surgery loaded with characters salvaged from somewhere on the cutting room floor of “Young Frankenstein” and “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.” The father, as a means of both explanation and exculpation, sees himself through the role of innocent apprentice hero Gavin (Eric Gilde), rescued from the Ivanhoe Workhouse for Criminally Impoverished Boys by the local nosemaker Wulfric (Corey Sullivan). “No one has shown me such love since my mother – and she died long before I was born,” a grateful Gavin laments. To which Wulfric later replies, “Poor boy – parents died before he was conceived.”

Playing at the Brick Theater in hipster Brooklyn “The Nosemaker’s Apprentice: Chronicles of a Medieval Plastic Surgeon” was envisioned by a troupe whose tongue in cheek mission statement notes that it was established this year “to answer all the eternal questions regarding human existence, and to support the collaborative theatrical work of Nick Jones, Rachel Shukert, and Peter James Cook. Terrible Baby is committed to being better than other theater companies and attracting as much press attention as possible.” And they’re off to a rousing start. With vivid “Alice In Wonderland”-like costumes, appropriately heightened and piped in medieval music, and a flawless cast playing several over-the-top characters each (yet conjuring up distinct accents and body language), the play itself has the feel of a big screen production within the confines of a small black box space. Add in Jones and Shukert’s gasping-for-air hilarious script and Cook’s go-go directing linked with Shaun Fillion’s exceptional lighting – which serves as a kind of narrator in its own right, directing our eyes on this madcap journey – and you’ve got a much better alternative to both Brooks and the Python crew’s watered down inspirations forever making the Broadway rounds.

Besides, nothing currently running on Broadway addresses the modern day conundrum of where the good of bodily reconstruction ends and the evils of cosmetic improvement begin. Do rules – what the father describes as “bullshit” – really only exist to serve a power elite? (“You mean ethics?” his confused daughter queries.) And nothing on the great white way will give you a glimpse of English feudalism and Viennese corruption and the “Queen of fucking France! Get down!” all for the price of a couple drinks at the bar. In the end the narrator says that Gavin was lucky, that he could have found himself “turning tricks on the side of the Long Island Expressway – with pieces of cheese or sausage.” Here’s hoping the Terrible Baby Theater Co. decides to stage that as an alternate history sequel.

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Brick Theater : 575 Metropolitan Ave.