Saturday, March 3, 2012

"And Things that Go Bump in the Night"

And Things that Go Bump in the Night

Playwright:  Terrence McNally

Venue:  Bug Theater, Denver CO

Date of Performance:  Friday, March 2, 2012

Terrence McNally is an accomplished playwright.  His repertoir includes “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Lips Together, Teeth Apart,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Ragtime.”  He has four Tony Awards. 

And then there’s “And Things that Go Bump in the Night.”  McNally acknowledges that the reviews of his first play were not very good. 

"I've never felt like a critics' darling," he says, quickly summoning a memory from 45 years ago of the drubbing of his first Broadway play, "And Things That Go Bump in the Night." It opened April 26, 1965 and closed 12 days later. "I thought the reviews would say, 'flawed, uneven, by a vital, talented playwright,' " he recalls. "But one said, 'It would have been better if Terrence McNally's parents smothered him in his cradle.' Actually, two reviews of my first play mentioned my death."

Given those reviews, I don’t feel awkward saying that the Bug Theatre’s current production of “And Things that Go Bump in the Night” is beyond disappointing.  As a fan of some of McNally’s other works, I had high expectations.  Those expectations were dashed quickly at the Bug Theatre.

Even so, a bad script can often be salvaged by a creative production and distinguished performances.  Not here.  While there’s no question that the cast, crew, and director put their hearts and souls into the production, there is no salvaging this script.

That said, this performance suffered a serious failure of its tech props.  Part of the story is told on a short film in the second act.  The projector flickered and the sound crashed repeatedly.   Seriously, I half expected the director to stop the show at that point, apologize for the problems and offer refunds.  Again…high expectations were dashed.

Having some sense of charity, I think it best that I dwell no further on the story, the characters, the actors, or the production. 

If you have nothing else to do, perhaps you would enjoy “And that Things Go Bump in the Night.”  I certainly hope so.  But for me, the experience was, as we say, “unforgettable.”  And not in a good way.

This show runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM, through March 17, 2012.

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