According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Friday, August 22, 2008


The in-the-flesh thrill of vaudeville is brought to life by Cycle, in which a troupe of players guide the suicidal Charlotte through the make-or-break process of finding success on the stage. It's a string of little adventures, but they pop like firecrackers.

Reviewed by Sarah Krasnow

Oh, what some fedoras can do. Just add a droopy tutu, some character shoes, a trunk bedecked with stickers, and the swellest hoofers in town, and you’ve got the in-the-flesh thrill that is vaudeville. Cycle opens on a troupe of vaudevillians, fated to ricochet through time whenever a member flouts a “showbiz superstition” (uttering the name of the Scottish play is no joke). Unlatching their prop trunk, they find a sleeping young woman named Charlotte inside. Charlotte’s hapless, humdrum life has driven her to contemplate jumping out the window, and today—her birthday—is her last chance to find success. What follows is a string of tiny adventures that go off like firecrackers as the players guide Charlotte though the make-or-break process of seeking success on the stage. The flurrying scenes, steeped in old-timey Americana, remind us of some national traits more classic than apple pie, like our tendency to look for shortcuts (the dream of landing a Hollywood career overnight), all dished out via vaudeville, that great American entertainment.

Backed by piano and accordion, twirling canes and dropping retro slang, the versatile actors dazzle us with jokes, violin, song, and dance, their personalities as complementary as the harmonies in their rendition of “All of Me.” They form a family, but not of the Aristocrats tradition: wholesome and tireless, they just want to do their act and help Charlotte back on the horse (or in this case, red Schwinn bike). In the role of Charlotte, playwright Rose Courtney’s flustered likeability makes us believe she’s not multitalented, though the illusion disappears as soon as she takes her final, well-deserved bow.

Watching Cycle inside the little Deluxe tent at South Street Seaport, a dance party to the right and the bigger-budget stuff to the left, this solid jewel of a play within the frothy nightlife glitter perfectly mirrors the South Street Seaport experience, with its cobblestones smothered by chain stores. The genuine, delightful Cycle transports us through time, allowing us to avoid the commercial and just absorb the joy.


Cycle (1 hr. 45 mins.; no intermission)
Venue #4 at the Deluxe @ Spiegelworld (Pier 17, South Street Seaport)
Tickets: $15 (866-468-7619)
Sat., Aug. 23 @ 9:15 pm

No comments: