In this age of theatre shows that are tech-heavy and acting-light, it's great to see work by a company going in the opposite direction. The Tremendous Tremendous is a wonderful new play by The Mad Ones, presented at The Brick Theater, which concerns a performing family, The Tremendous Traveling Abbotts, after their final triumphant performance at the 1939 World's Fair. The play is set entirely in their dressing room as the actors come down from what was apparently a fantastic performance (A commedia burlesque of Shakespeare)- they drink, they laugh, they talk, they change out of their costumes, and all the while the question is hanging over their heads of where they'll go now that the Fair is closing. This uncertainty, along with the alluded-to death of a previous member of the troupe, drives the emotional gears of the play.
The cast is wonderful, Marc Bovino as the stern Henry, Joe Curnutte as Charlie (who lost a foot), Michael Dalto as musically-talented newcomer Squid, Stephanie Wright Thompson as the gamine Lou (who is both little sister and sex object to the troupe), and Henry Vick as the second Henry (a Donald O'Connor-style comedian). Each inhabits their character completely and all are completely focused throughout, which makes the play riveting as all their different agendas bump up against each other.
The script written by The Mad Ones (Bovino, Curnutte, Thompson, and Lila Neugebauer- also responsible for last year's brilliant multi-award-winning Samuel and Alisdair: A Personal History of the Robot War) is full of overlapping dialogue, music, theatrical legerdemain, and fully creates a believable backstage after-show environment, with the help of fantastic costumes by Sydney Gallas, Makeup by Michael Anthony, Mike Inwood's lighting design, and (especially) Stowe Nelson's sound design.
The show is hilarious, moving, and unique. Go see it, if you can still get tickets.
The Tremendous Tremendous
By The Mad Ones
The Brick, 575 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
one block from the Lorimer stop of the L train / Metropolitan stop of the G train
tickets: $18.00, available at www.bricktheater.com or theatermania at 212-352-3101.
Thu April 14 @ 8pm
Fri April 15 @ 8pm
Sat April 16 @ 8pm
Pictured: Marc Bovino, Joe Curnutte, Michael Dalto, Stephanie Wright Thompson and Henry Vick. Photo Credit: Andrew Smrz