An overwrought tuner spoof inspired by a prediction that redheads will be extinct by 2100, “R.R.R.E.D” boasts an unimaginative book that wears out its welcome before the end of the first act and sabotages the melodious tunes of Katie Thompson. Tuner succeeds only when showcasing the creative musical interplay between Thompson and Patrick Livingston, who portray the raging redhead of revolution, Victoria O’Hara, and her adoring flunky, G.J. Crockett.The thematic premise — that redheads should eschew relationships with people of any other hair color and have as much sex as possible with other carrot-tops to guarantee that redheads will continue — is stated emphatically within the opening scene. The continuing promotion of the cause to a supposed secret meeting of the ginger-haired (the audience) features relentlessly tedious sales pitches and tactic demos by Victoria and G.J., aimed at defeating an alliance of those with differently pigmented hair who are out to destroy the reds. Thompson delivers an impressive perf as Victoria, reminiscent of Kathleen Turner’s psychotic housewife in 1994′s “Serial Mom,” with every mood twist etched on her visage. Livingston’s ultra-fey G.J. is comically in sync with Victoria’s every gesture. Both move effortlessly from vocals to onstage piano accompanist, belting or crooning a wide range of subject-specific fare. Adding much-needed diversion to the Victoria/G.J. shenanigans are a series of musical non sequitur “testimonials” by Shauna Markey, co-scripter Adam Jackman and Amanda Aquino. Markey offers a hilarious portrayal as a sexually ravenous R.R.R.E.D. disciple who belts out the zesty “I’m Not Pregnant, I’m Just Fat.” Aquino also scores with the comically narcissistic “I’m Too Pretty.” The theme-perfect production designs of Leonard Ogden (sets and costumes) and David Darwin (lights) are a decided plus for this ambitious tuner that would be enhanced by judicious trimming and a rethinking of its objective.
Grove Theater Center; 98 seats; $30 top
A Grove Theater Center presentation of a musical in two acts, music and lyrics by Katie Thompson, book by Thompson, Adam Jackman and Patrick Livingston. Directed by Kevin Cochran. Music direction, Thompson.
Sets, costumes, Leonard Ogden; lighting, David Darwin; production stage manager, Hunter Stevenson. Opened Sept. 6, 2008. Reviewed Sept. 12. Runs through Sept. 27. Running time: 1 HOUR, 50 MIN. Ensemble: Shauna Marker, Adam Jackman, Amanda Aquino.
Victoria O'Hara - Katie Thompson G.J. Crockett - Patrick Livingston