All That Jazz
BY Ross von Metzke
February 20 2009 1:00 AM ET
Both Gabriel and
MacFarlane are up to the challenge of running all systems go in
a relatively small black box theater. The play requires that
each actor roar above a three-person jazz band (the talented
Ian Whitcomb and his Bungalow Boys, who play throughout the
show) without going too far over the top. Their conversations
are intense -- Gabriel the able man's man while MacFarlane
channels the sort of feminine exuberance that fits him so well
Brothers & Sisters
and manages to refine it for an intimate space.
The third wheel, Prete
is faced with a difficult task -- make your trademark whiny,
sexpot southern belle sympathetic. It takes her a while (mostly
because her character is the least fleshed out of the three),
but when Zelda's mind begins to unravel, Prete lets loose -- a
scene in a mental hospital is particularly fine.
Sets are minimal, and
that suits the play just fine. Save for the occasional almost
bedroom tryst and a whole lot of drinking,
The Jazz Age
is really about these three actors. The play's abrupt ending is
a bit of a jolt and takes a while to swallow, but as with the
rest of the play, it goes down -- that it takes a bit of energy
from the audience to let it all soak in seems oddly fittings
... as if Fitzgerald and Hemingway wouldn't have it any other
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