Monday, November 26, 2012

A Not-So "Wild Party"

By Skip Sheffield

My mother used to say, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.”
And so I will choose my words very carefully. Outre Theatre Co. is the new kid in town, and a feisty one at that.
Outre’s inaugural production, “The Wild Party,” continues through Dec. 9 in the black box theater of Mizner Park Centre for the Arts (formerly Cartoon Museum).
“Wild Party” is a bold but curious choice for the Boca Raton audience. The work is a musical by Andrew Lippa based on a 1928 narrative poem by John Moncure March.
“Wild Party” was quite risqué in its day. It was duly “banned in Boston.”
Outre’s “Wild Party” has a huge and rather unwieldy 15-member cast, under the direction of Skye Whitcomb. It also has a large (9-piece) onstage band under the direction of Kristen Long to tackle Lippa’s challenging, not-very-hummable score.
As Whitcomb says in his director’s notes, “There are no heroes here. A cast of empty, hungry characters claw and bite for something, anything, to fill the void, while jazz, sex, betrayal and alcohol swirl around them.”
If this does not sound like much fun, then you get the picture.
If “Wild Party’ is supposed to be sexy and funny, the characters are so unlikable it is hard for it to be either. The main characters are Queenie (Sabrina Gore) and Burrs (Tom Anello), a vaudeville couple with an offstage relationship. It is a volatile relationship. You could say they are always at each other’s throats.
The hostilities escalate with the addition of two characters at the party of the title. Kate (Christina Groom) is a flapper who sets her sights on both Queenie and Burrs. Black (Mark Brown-Rodriguez) is a smooth-talking brown-eyed handsome man (with the best male voice) who picks up on Queenie’s revenge flirtations.
As the party wears on the characters sing about their messed up lives in rhyming couplets. One of the best things about “The Wild Party” is the dance numbers, choreographed by Michelle Petrucci and staged on Sean McClellend’s elegantly shabby set. A stand-out dancer is a little fireplug of a guy named Jackie (Ben Solomor), who gets his own solo number, “Jackie’s Last Dance.”
There is a grand finale of sorts, of which we will not detail. Suffice it to say the party is over. We are not likely to return.
We will return to see whatever else Outre Theatre has in the works. It is admirable the company is giving work to so many young and talented South Florida performers. We just wish the party could have been more fun.
For tickets, call 954-300-2149 or go to

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