Tied to a Chair

"Tied to a Chair" may be the only way anyone would still for this farcical, female-empowerment/terrorist comedy.

“Tied to a Chair” may be the only way anyone would still for this farcical, female-empowerment/terrorist comedy, which has only about half the charm it needs to match its adjectives, and wanders from London to Cannes to Manhattan looking for both a plotline and a raison d’etre. Lead Bonnie Loren is game and, now and then, wackily charming, but helmer Michael Bergmann’s overly cute and ultimately aimless story leaves her hanging, and will leave auds drop-jawed. Small theatrical play will be followed by oblivion.

Would-be actress Naomi (Loren), shrugging off London housewifery, flies to Cannes, where she meets washed-up filmmaker Billy Rust (a solid Mario Van Peebles), talks him into a screen test, flies to New York, steals a cab, is chased by half the NYPD and uncovers a terrorist plot being concocted by taxi drivers of Middle Eastern descent. She then rescues New York through a combo of startling ingenuity, and Lucy Ricardo-style ineptitude. Nothing is the least bit convincing, dramatically or comedically; neither is it engaging. The most capable member of the cast is “The Closer’s” Robert Gossett, and how he got ensnared in this is anyone’s guess.

Tied to a Chair

  • Production: A Process Studio Theater presentation in association with Gotschna Ventures. Produced, directed, written by Michael Bergmann.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Douglas Underdahl; editor, Jonathan Sloman; music, Deborah Mollison; production designer, Tracy Steele; art director, Frederick Gaston; costume designer, Jenna Nankin. Reviewed on DVD, New York, May 5, 2011. Running time: 95 MIN.
  • With: With Bonnie Loren, Mario Van Peebles, Robert Gossett, Richard Franklin, Sayed Badreya, Ali Marsh, Joselin Reyes.
  • Music By: