A Night on the Town
48" x 91", Oil on Canvas
Having made the sagacious decision to avoid this squalid little offering in favour of a night in, reupholstering the wingback (sadly not a euphemism), imagine my despair when my editor called to inform me the producer was an old friend of hers. Apparently she had promised him a review, and that she’d get her best man on the job.
That I am her only man - in the theatre reviewer sense, at least - diminished the already diminutive honour of being handed this poisoned chalice of an assignment. I received the news with as good grace as one can muster, put down the fabric scissors, girded myself against raised hopes, and went forth into the night.
So what can one say about A Night on the Town? Other than that it is a witless, interminable farrago masquerading as “socio-political cultural commentary with a dash of satire that will leave audiences wanting more!” as the programme would have it. More of what, I am quite uncertain, as the most profound cultural commentary of the night was the gentleman beside me sneezing into his handkerchief.
The plot, as far as one can determine its existence, concerns itself with the lives of six friends (three men and three women) who must wrestle with the vicissitudes of life in West Vancouver...which, if this depiction is anything to go by, is as vicissitudinous as an evening in a well-lit parlour in comfortable bedsocks.
The main cast is augmented by the controversial inclusion of Bald Eagle, still wrestling with his own vicissitudes (or vodka and Quaaludes, if his bizarre antics brandishing an umbrella throughout proceedings are any indication).
To the eternal bafflement of this reviewer, Cattle Skull continues to get work; here he plays one half of an ill-advised gay pairing with Peacock. Stilted doesn’t begin to cover it - to say he was wooden would be to asperse wood’s animus. His lines fall from his mouth, only to flop about weakly on the stage, looking for a place to die.
As agreeably decorative prop, Rose succeeds admirably, but her undeniable shapeliness isn’t enough to distract one from the inescapable conclusion she is a thespianic cipher.
Poppy is forgettable, Sunflower regrettable, Lotus execrable. A trio of fully-fledged nobodies - Elk Skull, Swan and Bird of Paradise - round out the (mis)cast.
The play isn’t helped by the writer’s flaccid approach to his craft, the director’s unsteady hands, the relentlessly awful soundtrack, and the lighting, which had all the ambience of a flickering fluorescent in a loading dock. I would say that it rendered the production well-nigh unwatchable, but it was beaten to it by the “acting”.
As far as a night out goes, A Night on the Town is a great incentive to spend a night in. Reupholstering the wingback, as it were.