Trista Baldwin has penned a timely legiter focusing on the devious doings of an all-powerful energy conglomerate that brutally exploits its employees, stockholders and the environment while manipulating its assets and profit margin in the name of success. There is not much substance to this comical tale of corporate skullduggery.

Trista Baldwin has penned a timely legiter focusing on the devious doings of an all-powerful energy conglomerate that brutally exploits its employees, stockholders and the environment while manipulating its assets and profit margin in the name of success. Not a chronicle of the Enron scandal, it’s a surrealistic account of mythical Electricland, ruled over by gleefully evil VP Bob Mickey (Jim Anzide). There is not much substance to this comical tale of corporate skullduggery, but helmer Paula Goldberg makes the most of what she’s got thanks to an adept, ragingly over-the-top seven-member ensemble.

Baldwin’s storyline is simple and incidental to the real action. Mickey constantly pushes for greater office productivity while offhandedly taking on secretary Carol (Nedra Gallegos) as his wife. The oft-married Carol is devoted to her squeaky-clean ex-cheerleader daughter, Muffy (Jessica Makinson), who joins the firm and is immediately smitten with shy company geek Travis (Tim Wright). This angers hyperefficient Shelly Ann (Ally Wolfe), who has her own designs on Travis. Watching from the sidelines are company campaign girl Electric Lucy (Katy Selverstone) and janitor Tumor Tom, kindred souls whose bodies have been damaged by the company’s pollutants. The two are plotting to expose Electricland to the world.

Goldberg allows Anzide, Gallegos, Makinson, Wolfe and Selverstone to establish larger-than-life comedic characters that dominate the storyline. Anzide’s Bob Mickey is an awe-inspiring combination of Don Rickles and the Marquis de Sade. With a nonstop fury, he segues from lasciviously manhandling Carol to punching out stepdaughter Muffy to maniacally extolling his staff to earn their $7 an hour by working holidays.

He is matched by Wolfe’s scenery-devouring performance as mentally unbalanced Shelly Ann, who sadistically attempts to do in her rival by rigging her curling irons and then feeding her into the company’s waste disposal unit. One of the comic highlights of the production is Shelly Ann’s subsequent attempt to impersonate Muffy’s innocent persona while her eyes project a searing malevolence.

Nicely counterbalancing Wolfe is Makinson’s energetic, superinnocent portrayal of the former cheerleader. In the second act, Makinson is quite effective as the now-damaged iambic pentameter-spouting Muffy seeks revenge for being turned into a semi-feline by Shelly Ann’s shenanigans.

Gallegos holds her own as the ever-tragic but still hopeful Carol, who puts up with Bob’s cruelty because she believes it is her lot in life to be abused by men. Selverstone is quite effective as the electrically charged Lucy, a tough cookie who cheerfully proclaims the company’s ad slogans but is sadly resigned to never being able to hold the man she loves.

The straight-arrow performances of Wright and Grammar serve as needed resting points from the off-the-wall hyperactivity of the other ensemble members.

ElectroPuss

Hudson Backstage; 99 seats; $20 top

Production

Circle X Theatre presents a play in two acts by Trista Baldwin. Directed by Paula Goldberg.

Creative

Sets, Michael Allen; costumes, Sabrina Benson, Mara West; lights, Michael E.R. Habicht, Eran James; sound, Brian Reynolds; music, Dan Studney. Opened Feb. 15, 2002; reviewed Feb. 16; closes March 30. Running time: 1 HOUR, 50 MIN.

Cast

Bob Mickey - Jim Anzide Carol - Nedra Gallegos Muffy - Jessica Makinson Shelly Ann - Ally Wolfe Travis - Tim Wright Electric Lucy - Katy Selverstone Tumor Tom - David Grammar
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more
Post A Comment 0