Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nursery Crimes by Greg Klein, Last Act Theatre Company at Dougherty Arts Center, November 8 - 24, 2013

CTXLT review

by Michael Meigs

Nursery Crimes Greg Klein Last Act Theatre Company AUstin TX
Sara Cormier, David Boss (photo: Will Hollis Snider)
David Boss with his resonant baritone and weary dead-pan styling makes a fine Philip Marlowe, or, in acknowledgment of the film noir inspiration for playwright Greg Klein and the company, a good Bogey. 

Klein's play is an homage to that very distinctive style, so much so that the first half of the Kickstarter promo video was a 1940s-style dramatization with first-person narration, video-recorded in stark black and white by director Will Hollis Snider.

You could write a straight film noir play script and make it work; you could even do a parody version that could amuse both film buffs and the casual public. 

Klein's choice is different. He's soberly respectful of the genre as he mines his Mother Goose for characters. The protagonist sleuth is Jack Horner, and he's certainly sitting in his corner while his good-natured seen-it-all secretary Donna (presumably Mother) Hubbard (Peggy Schott) laboriously types his reports and answers his phone.

Sara Cormier is the attractive bad news that comes his way, asking for help. She's Bo Peep, and her sheep have disappeared. Her father's the farmer Old MacDonald (Travs Bedard). We run across some baddies, Jack (D. Heath Thompson) and Jill (Elena Weinberg), who use the cheerful dolt Humphrey aka Humpty (Bobby DiPasquale) for some of their bad business. Peggy Schott checks in also as Marjorie Daw; Bedard as the gruff avuncular cop Guy Blue; DiPasquale as Peter Piper; and Mary quite contrary (Weinberg) is hopelessly dependent upon her drug dealer boyfriend King Cole (Thompson). While the sleuth's nosing around through the underworld he runs across the three blind mice (DiPasquale, Thompson and Bedard). Double crosses, bad temper, murder, the big shadowy metropolis. You know. The city that never sleeps and kept hick middle-class America on the edge of its cinema seats.

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