Horse Head Theatre Company
Maybe It Wasn’t False Advertising
July 13, 2014 — Somehow, seeing the picture poster of all the little babies, I had a different impression of the show I was about to see. ‘Funny with mini plastic babies scattered across the screen’ isn’t what I got and as for ‘dark comedy’, the actors were really well lit the whole time. During the first minutes, when Ivy Castle as Milly actually went to sleep on the stage, posing nicely for a second, and no words were said for several minutes, I thought I was about to witness some kind of art piece. It started slowly. I thought Horse Head Theater was, maybe, wasting my time, but Spagetti Code came on through the starch of exposition and kept pumping for gestation. First, I could see that Drake Simpson as Tim was building a very nuanced representation of a computer guy who was just THAT much bigger than real life. My interest in Ivy as Milly, having been dulled by the long beginning, was sparked by her use of a simple prop. Oh my gosh, wasn’t the first act about fancy prop work to me, especially in the beginning. It was a Soap Opera, but with larger and more interesting than ‘life in a soap opera’ characters. For me, the stodgy beginning was cranked up by the way the actors used props to manifest reality. It’s like a soap, but I was starting to watch it with interest because I could see character, prop work, some really great comic timing and double-takes and mugging: not too much to force disbelief, but enough to show that everyone on stage had some real theatrical chops. Andrew Love as Phil, the doctor, helped kick the action of the soap opera play up past melodrama during the first act. By the middle of it I was watching the computer guy be a real human and funny and THERE. I was watching the Dr. fulfill the requirements of carrying four or more parts of the plot forward with the way he built his character, but maybe the play before the intermission belonged to Mischa Hutchings as Stacy. She pulled off several transformations of facial characteristics, intimacy and intensity. I think transformation witnessed in front of one’s face, right there on stage, is quite compelling.
After the intermission I found myself worrying that the show had slowed down again, but Ivy as Milly showed up herself now transformed into the host of a party. I was pulled back in and became audience again. The beginning, the end, the beginning of the end did seem slow, but the rest was ‘soap opera on character spoof steroids’ with lots of tight ‘funny and fun’ injected into my laugh muscles. I love that this is an original, local play. There is some really great writing to inspire the darn fine acting I saw. PJ’s Sports Bar’s space was well used. The air conditioning kept that second floor theatrical space cool.