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Laughing Around Town with Larry Litt

"The Donkey Show," written by Shakespeare
Wed, Thurs, Sun at 8
Fri and Sat at 8 and 10
Club El Flamingo
Presented by Project 400 Theatre Group
547 West 21st St., New York
www.the donkeyshow.com
Box office 212.977.3395

If Shakespeare wrote Midsummer Night’s Dream as a balance to his immortal tragedy Romeo and Juliet, then Project 400 Theatre Group created The Donkey Show as a counterpoint to all the usually mundane and similar summer theater productions of the former comedy. Not a year goes by when there aren’t at least as many MNDs in every resort town as there are director’s looking to get out of NYC for a break from the heat. But Donkey Show keeps the heat in and turns it up to a new sizzler.

In an hour and five minutes the cast of 17 singers and dancers, along with their omniscient DJ From On High, tells the mixed-up love stories of Oberon, Tytania, Lysander, Helen, Dimitri and Hermia. The big difference here is that
we, the audience, are dancing, drinking, and having a fine old time mingling with the royal lovers, fairies and artisans in the mirrored and velvet clad Club El Flamingo disco on 21st Street and 12th Avenue.

This musical version of the comedy poses the classic songs of 70’s and 80’s club disco as an au courant soundtrack for the zany romantic intrigues of the characters. The sound system pumps out volume for the 20 songs which are
played loud enough to get even the most undancerly types gyrating in their seats. Almost everone else is on the floor with the fairies, literally.

But it’s the lip synching by the beautiful and sexy cast which weaves the disco lyrics into the play’s romantic ups and downs that intrigued me most. This show is a skillful modern parody of an anachronistic Greek parody originally written for Elizabethan times. Besides the numerous gender bender changelings in this star crossed and cross dressed cast, there’s a bestiality climax that’s hilarious. That we haven't strayed far from the most satisfying visions of highly charged and erotic entertainment with social commentary is evident here.

The Donkey Show is also a nostalgic night for those disco queens who want a little culture to justify their dancing fool selves. Just look around at the audience having a great time. Shakespeare would have approved.[Litt]

If you have any comments or want to notify me about performances or shows, you can e-mail me at humornet@aol.com.

Copyright © 2001 Larry Litt


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