Hidden Performances

A few actors sparkle in dismal Fast Girls and equally dismal Salome's Last Dance

Morales is an engaging Salome, but -- with the exception of Butterfield, whose Bosie/John the Baptist is given little more than an occasional outburst (and who looks for all the world like Jambi, the genie from Pee Wee's Playhouse) -- the remaining members of the ensemble turn in messy, unremarkable performances. To play an actor who can't act requires some little skill, and these actors display very little indeed. Their onstage banter continues throughout the performance, often drowning out the principals from whom, admittedly, one yearns for distraction. Their fleeting, garbled English accents defy description, and often render much of Russell's snappy dialogue incoherent.

The show belongs to Dering, whose peculiar talents and beguiling stage presence are the evening's single excitement. In vast robes and a plastic floral headdress, he gobbles scenery, bellowing his lines one moment, squeaking them out in a child's whisper the next. His dramatic moments overtake the stage, and his comic bits dwarf the players with whom he shares them. In one scene, a dozen actors perform various orgiastic ecstasies, but Dering commands our attention when he joins a pair of dancing girls for a simple go-go routine.

Angelica Frost and Stephen J. Craig in Fast Girls.
Angelica Frost and Stephen J. Craig in Fast Girls.

Details

Fast Girls continues through Friday, December 8.

Salome's Last Dance continues through Saturday, December 16.

Fast Girls showing at the company's acting studio, 2505 East Thomas.

Salome's Last Dance showing at the Helen K. Mason Center for the Performing Arts, 333 East Portland.

Unfortunately, theatergoers rarely brave lousy plays in order to see a single performance. Here's to hoping our newest troupes will opt for better material -- and attract a wider range of talent -- in the future.

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