Thursday, May 21, 2009

Promethean Theatre: The Dumb Show (3 reviews)

Promethean Theatre Company had a rough road getting their May show on its feet: Kimberly Akimbo was originally slated for the slot, and when casting conflicts arose, Speed the Plow was selected, but a larger company pulled the rights out from under them.

Their final choice was Joe Penhall's The Dumb Show, which opened May 15th. Margaret Ledford directed Greg Weiner, Deborah Sherman, and David Sirois. I saw it myself last week, and it's obvious that Promethean didn't go and select an "also ran" but made the effort to find a new "first choice."

The Miami Herald has declined reviewing this production*.

Mary Damiano reviewed for Miami Artzine:
Some aspects of the production don’t quite mesh—the British humor, for example, falls flat, which bogs down the pacing and energy. But Weiner is terrific as the TV star, who goes from cocky to desperate to vulnerable over the course of the play. His accent is also spot on, and he’s so good at what he does it never feels like he’s acting. Sherman and Sirois, as the reporters are more stagy, more mannered. They’re at their best when they’re tag-teaming their prey, transforming from reporters to witch hunters, brow-beating the poor star into a “confession” about his perceived immorality.

Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
... an excellent play with a dubious premise, for which Promethean's three actors compensate with a balls-to-the-wall manic energy that leaves an audience with little time for critical thought.
Weiner has received every plaudit a South Florida actor can garner in the past year — a Carbonell, drooling reviews, an in-print comparison to Zac Efron — but he's never deserved them more than he does now.
...there is a peculiar genius to Sherman's acting... She looks like she's groping for even these obvious words, and after saying them, she looks unsatisfied. It's as though she knows there's something more profound she means to say but isn't sure there's any language to express it.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for the Sun-Sentinel:
British playwright Joe Penhall stabs a scalding skewer directly into the rotting guts of tabloid journalism in the Promethean Theatre's scathing production of the viciously funny Dumb Show.

Margaret Ledford's driving, inventive direction and a top-of-their-game cast eviscerate the morally bankruptcy of vampire celebrity journalists by depicting one publication's relentless pursuit of a TV star's descent into dissolution.
Weiner just won a Carbonell for his Irish ne'er-do-well in Mosaic's The Seafarer. He is far better here. Weiner's boorish celebrity is all profane bluster and self-centered vanity, yet Weiner makes you feel sorry for this sad human being by the end of the evening.
Playing what are essentially two roles, Deborah L. Sherman (Promethean's producing artistic director) and David Sirois are mesmerizing in their self-righteous hypocrisy.
As excellent as the cast is, the star may be Ledford. Her overall vision is rock solid consistent, her rapid-fire pacing is flawless and her movement of actors around the stage is fluid. Best of all, she and her cast have cooked up scores of silent reactions and bits of business that raise the production beyond actors saying words.
Promethean Theatre Company presents The Dumb Show at Nova Southeastern University's Mailman Theatre through May 31, 2009.

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