By Byrne Harrison
I think I know what Uncorseted is meant to be. This gender-bending farce where women play men, men play women, women play women, men play men, and in one case, a man plays a woman playing a man, seems to be aiming for the wild romps of Charles Ludlam and the Ridiculous Theatrical Company. While it has some of the right elements - raunchy humor, inappropriate sex toys, double entendre, drag, camp, slapstick, sex - the whole is considerably less than the sum of its parts.
Uncorseted follows a series of characters at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair for the fencing exhibition. This provides an opportunity to play with gender roles both by having actors of one gender playing the other, and in that few of the characters conform to their accepted gender type anyway (especially considering that this is set in the extremely straight-laced Victorian era). While this could lead to a wild, cross-dressing comedy, Uncorseted remains flat and fallow.
Some of this is in the presentation of the story - there is more narration and less action than needed - however, the main problem with Uncorseted is that there seems to be little if any direction provided. Farce needs a strong hand to make sure the timing is impeccable, the jokes hit, and the actors are all on the same page. Without this, the play drags (the death knell for any farce), the audience sits in silence, and the actors preen and mug. The want of a director is very obvious in this production. What could be high camp fails in its execution.
Written and Performed by LaGoDi and the Shark Tank Players
Featuring: Lobo Logodey (CORNELIA), Lacey Carriage (PENELOPE), Goober Cemetery (FELICITY), Missy Peyton (GEORGE SAND), Fanny Florida (RAPIST, VIXEN, LESBIAN SWORD-FIGHTER, FREDERICK ), Phoebe Virgin (Douglas), Mandy Twin Laurel (VIXEN and as needed), Mollie Harvest (VIXEN and as needed), Smoky Topaz (GERTRUDE STEIN and VIXEN), Tim (CREW)
The Kraine Theater
85 East 4th Street
Closed Saturday, March 6th