Massage (Odyssey Theatre; 99 seats; $ 20 top) Odyssey Theatre Ensemble presents a play in one act, written and directed by Steven Berkoff. Producers, Ron Sossi and Beth Hogan. Set design, Don Llewelyn; lighting design, John Verd Cook; costume design, Roslyn Moore. Opened Feb. 22, 1997; reviewed March 1; runs until April 6. Running time: 90 min. Cast: Steven Berkoff (Mum), Barry Philips (Dad). Steven Berkoff's oneacter associates the current status of British society with the popularity of the massage parlor, wherein any gentleman can find relief for his tensions from the dexterous digital manipulation of the female attendants. Berkoff states and restates this premise to the point of sense-dulling monotony as he chronicles the adventures of a working-class English couple, Mum (Berkoff in drag) and Dad (Barry Philips). Despite intriguing performances by Berkoff and Philips, there is no justification or enlightenment revealed as the production relentlessly whacks away on its single subject matter, becoming increasingly graphic in its odes to the servicing of the male sex organ. Mum and dad, locked in the tedium of their humdrum existence , have individually found the same outlet to enliven their existence. Unbeknownst to Dad, Mum operates the local massage establishment wherein she proudly declares, "I am the virtuoso of the yank." In the meantime, Dad, who constantly rails against what he considers the decline of English civilization, finds solace during his workday with periodic sessions at whatever massage establishment is handy, as long as it is not in his own neighborhood. Matters come to a head when Dad mistakenly wanders into Mum's place of business. Berkoff is a masterful performer whose Mum twists and gyrates to her own muse, rhapsodizing with Shakespearean eloquence over her acquired manual skills. However, Berkoff the writer-director should know when enough is enough. It is a great relief when Mum is found out by Dad, so Berkoff can finally get this working girl off her seemingly inexhaustible series of phallus-driven soliloquies and deal with the reality of having to mollify her irate hubby. Philips offers an adroit comical turn as Dad, as well as a series of Mum's well-serviced customers. He is at his best when Dad is at home in the flat, voicing his constant displeasure about the aliens and street people who are destroying the fabric of English life. His own solo turns at the joys of the "personal" massage suffer from the same overkill as Mum's. Don Llewelyn's imaginative split-stage scenic design does much to enhance the expressionistic thrust of the work, as do the lights and costumes of John Verd Cook and Roslyn Moore, respectively. An uncredited but effective sound design adds a needed sense of irreverent, light-heartedness to this crotch-dwelling affair. --- Julio Martinez

Massage (Odyssey Theatre; 99 seats; $ 20 top) Odyssey Theatre Ensemble presents a play in one act, written and directed by Steven Berkoff. Producers, Ron Sossi and Beth Hogan. Set design, Don Llewelyn; lighting design, John Verd Cook; costume design, Roslyn Moore. Opened Feb. 22, 1997; reviewed March 1; runs until April 6. Running time: 90 min. Cast: Steven Berkoff (Mum), Barry Philips (Dad). Steven Berkoff’s oneacter associates the current status of British society with the popularity of the massage parlor, wherein any gentleman can find relief for his tensions from the dexterous digital manipulation of the female attendants. Berkoff states and restates this premise to the point of sense-dulling monotony as he chronicles the adventures of a working-class English couple, Mum (Berkoff in drag) and Dad (Barry Philips). Despite intriguing performances by Berkoff and Philips, there is no justification or enlightenment revealed as the production relentlessly whacks away on its single subject matter, becoming increasingly graphic in its odes to the servicing of the male sex organ. Mum and dad, locked in the tedium of their humdrum existence , have individually found the same outlet to enliven their existence. Unbeknownst to Dad, Mum operates the local massage establishment wherein she proudly declares, “I am the virtuoso of the yank.” In the meantime, Dad, who constantly rails against what he considers the decline of English civilization, finds solace during his workday with periodic sessions at whatever massage establishment is handy, as long as it is not in his own neighborhood. Matters come to a head when Dad mistakenly wanders into Mum’s place of business. Berkoff is a masterful performer whose Mum twists and gyrates to her own muse, rhapsodizing with Shakespearean eloquence over her acquired manual skills. However, Berkoff the writer-director should know when enough is enough. It is a great relief when Mum is found out by Dad, so Berkoff can finally get this working girl off her seemingly inexhaustible series of phallus-driven soliloquies and deal with the reality of having to mollify her irate hubby. Philips offers an adroit comical turn as Dad, as well as a series of Mum’s well-serviced customers. He is at his best when Dad is at home in the flat, voicing his constant displeasure about the aliens and street people who are destroying the fabric of English life. His own solo turns at the joys of the “personal” massage suffer from the same overkill as Mum’s. Don Llewelyn’s imaginative split-stage scenic design does much to enhance the expressionistic thrust of the work, as do the lights and costumes of John Verd Cook and Roslyn Moore, respectively. An uncredited but effective sound design adds a needed sense of irreverent, light-heartedness to this crotch-dwelling affair. — Julio Martinez

Massage

Opened Feb. 22, 1997. (Odyssey Theatre; 99 seats; $20 top)

Production

Odyssey Theatre Ensemble presents a play in one act, written and directed by Steven Berkoff. Producers, Ron Sossi and Beth Hogan. Set design, Don Llewelyn.

Creative

Lighting design, John Verd Cook; costume design, Roslyn Moore. Reviewed March 1; runs until April 6. Running time: 90 min.

Cast

Cast: Steven Berkoff (Mum), Barry Philips (Dad).

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