Optimistically Cautious

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Theatre: "House of Cats"

After Murietta's, May and I headed to the Varscona to check out the newest Teatro La Quindicina production, House of Cats:

"a hapless bylaw officer investigates a highly concentrated feline presence in a bungalow shared by two sisters and learns that in certain circumstances the lines separating what’s obsessive, what’s crazy, and what’s just plain fun can be deliciously blurred."

A piece by Cathleen Rootsaert, I must admit my immediate bias against any Teatro premiere not penned by the venerable Stewart Lemoine. And while I do think it's possible for a play to be both frivolous and entertaining (last summer's Hey Countess! is a good example), House of Cats only exemplified the former. It was definitely a 'madcap' production, with emphasis on 'mad.'

It was difficult to like the characters - while their actions throughout were reasonable, they were all so self-indulgent and contained within their individual existences that the entire script seemed like a pointless exercise. There were some good lines (e.g. after his explanation of blogging and WoW, the bylaw officer comments that, "Being anti-social isn't what it used to be"), but most of the humor felt downright forced.

The bright spots included Jeff Haslam's set - ornate, rich, and with more cat-nacks than I've ever seen in one space. Also, Leona Brausen's nervous energy translated perfectly into the role of kooky sister Helene. She had by far the juiciest part, but she aptly demonstrated her comic timing and skill in exhibiting oddball tendencies.

Next up for Teatro: a new Lemoine in May!



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