Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bonnie and Clyde: A Folktale

BOTTOM LINE: Light, Fresh, Irreverant

So, while I did expect twangy accents and a bit of fiddling from Bonnie & Clyde: A Folktale, (running at the American Theater of Actors through 9/28 as part of the NYMF festival) the words "ass-fire" and "boob-sweat" were definitely not part of the standard, old-timey, country-western fare I anticipated. And it's that irreverant spirit that sets this new musical apart. The script (by Urinetown's Hunter Foster) supports a hilarious group of actors as they bring a motley crew of vibrant characters to life. Diane Davis and Jason Wooten, in the title roles, are disarmingly charming as they alternately bicker and hold up the audience, and the supporting players - including riotously funny turns by Julie Johnson and Kevin Cahoon - will have you rolling.

Unfortunately, the night I saw it, there were some sound issues, which I think kept me from enjoying the music (and there is a lot of it) fully. That said, the roving band of "marihoochis" and rousing finale are strong additions structurally, musically, and comically. Visually, director Mark Waldrop works wonderfully in the space, using scaffolding, catwalks, and house aisles to create a physically encompassing show.

There's not a whole lot in this play that will break your heart or change your life, nor should there be - it's a musical comedy. There are, however, great comic pay-offs and a cast of gems. It's most definitely a fun, fresh show for you and your partner-in-crime.

(Bonnie and Clyde: A Folktale plays at the American Theatre of Actors, 314 West 54th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues). Remaining performances: Sunday, Sept. 21st at 5pm and 9pm, Saturday, Sept. 27th at 4:30pm, and Sunday, Sept. 28th at 5pm. Tickets are $20. Visit for more details and to purchase tickets.

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