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Red Herring

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Michael Hollinger

COMPANY : Theatre in the Square [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Theatre in the Square [WEBSITE]
ID# 609

SHOWING : September 30, 2002 - November 17, 2002

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

It's 1952 and detective Maggie Pelletier is trying to get away for her Havana honeymoon. But first she has to find out the origin of the body that's mysteriously turned up. Sam Spade meets I Love Lucy?


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Susan Reid
stag manager Julia Burke
Lynn McCarthy Megan Hayes
Maggie Pelletier Caroline Masclet
James Appel Chris Moses
Andrei Borchevsky Bill Murphey
Mrs. Kravitz Sherri Sutton
Frank Keller Dan Triandaflo
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Shallow Halibut
by Dedalus
Monday, November 18, 2002
3.0
Michael Hollinger’s “Red Herring,” recently closed at Theatre-in-the-Square’s Alley Stage, was a well-directed, well-acted and funny parody of 50’s crime melodrama which had a script that too often sabotaged the good work that was happening on stage.

Caroline Masclet is absolutely wonderful as the fast-talking Maggie, a gumshoe “dame” outplaying the men in what is a man’s game. She is very ably supported by the rest of the cast playing multiple roles.

The pace is lively, with scene changes performed in full character by the cast. The set works well in the small Alley Stage space. And the evening was filled with laugh-out-loud moments.

And yet, the production was completely forgettable. The reason was the shallow script. This was a play that attempts to find humor in very serious subjects – murder, treason, McCarthyism, marriage, women in traditional male roles, fish, and cheese. But it does absolutely nothing with them. Any subject matter could have been substituted, with no affect on the result. Nothing is made of the oddness of Maggie being a female detective in 1952, or of Lynn being Senator McCarthy’s daughter, or of James being a Russian spy beyond what is needed to get the next cheap laugh.

And too many of the laughs were cheap, based on simple wordplay or easy stereotypes than from anything like character or situation.

And the conclusion strain willing-suspension-of-disbelief far past the breaking point. It was as if a decision was made to suddenly make this a play about love and marriage.

So, this was a play that parodied a genre without understanding it, brings in important “issues” without exploiting them, and is satisfied with easy and cheap laughs, rather than striving for something that might possible be remembered.

But, it was still enjoyable. Just forgettable. In spite of the fishy smell.

- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com) [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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