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    Lawrence Goldhuber and Wallie Wolfgruber in A Match Made in Heaven in Lawrence Goldhuber/BIGMANARTS
    Photo by Julieta Cervantes
    Lawrence Goldhuber and Wallie Wolfgruber in "A Match Made in Heaven"

    BIGMANARTS Hits the Broad Side of the Barn

    Lawrence Goldhuber's latest company tells tales with physical humor


    With the exception of a dubious mockumentary, Lawrence Goldhuber/BIGMANARTS consistently entertained in his coyly obvious big-guns style at the company's DTW premiere. Goldhuber and the members of this current company are all well-seasoned performers whose professional dance careers extend back as far as 30 years, and his mockumentary calls on more longtime NYC dance figures as interviewees. All these stellar pedigrees give the performance a very even keel, even as the events onstage become calculatedly ridiculous, and these people still move better than quite a few dancers 20 years younger.

    Choreography by: Lawrence Goldhuber.
    Dancers: Arthur Aviles, Jamie Bishton, Keely Garfield, Lawrence Goldhuber, Robert LaFosse, David Parker and Wallie Wolfgruber.
    Production design by: Liz Prince, Sandra Cain, Diesel.
    Art direction by: Liz Prince, Sandra Cain, Diesel.
    Costumes by: Liz Prince, Sandra Cain, Diesel.
    Lighting design by: Robert Wierzel.
    Video: Janet Wong, David Brooks.
    Dance Theater Workshop May 16-19, 2007

    "Dances with Wolves" is a ballroom dance in formal dress that explores the pitfalls of doomed relationships in moments of elegance and abject rejection. Keely Garfield, Goldhuber's slender feminine counterpart, does most of the rejecting, keeping it cool when she isn't struggling violently. It's a well-crafted piece that fits the performers well, full of trademark bits like Goldhuber doing very roughly the same leaps as his much lither partner or carting her around over his shoulder like a lively sack of flour. The humor relies on his oblivious but endearing character, the oaf with a heart of gold, much like a Laurel and Hardy comedy and with similar laughs.

    The weird mockumentary "The Life and Times of Barry Goldhubris" excerpt shown doesn't have the clarity of action or intention that his dance pieces have, though it does serve as diversionary filler between dance pieces. What are we to make of the toe-tagged body near the end that may or may not be that of "Barry Goldhubris," the Howard Hughes-like character that may or may not be like some side of Larry Goldhuber?

    everyone has a good time in the finale of dancing food  

    The very witty take on Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden "A Match Made in Heaven" then pairs the lovely Wallie Wolfgruber with Goldhuber, both wearing hilarious nude bodysuits (see picture). There is nothing remotely subtle in this piece, which makes it all the better. The obviously fake 12-foot snake and enormous candy-red apple lead the hapless couple to the sin of the big city and ultimately a fatal struggle over a rifle. Wolfgruber is such a pleasure to watch move, another excellent foil to Goldhuber's limited physicality.

    "Hoody" showcases the exuberant dancing of Arthur Aviles, cast as a male Red Riding Hood from the 'hood who meets the suave wolf Robert LaFosse on the way to his aunt's house, sent on a mission by his mom, Keely Garfield in high heels and hair with a cellphone implant and a New York accent big enough to hear without sound. A narrated video backdrop by Janet Wong works really well to move the story along with simple props and visuals.

    Dessert comes in the lush food dream of a fat-suited Goldhuber that is "Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony," another exercise in vaudevillian humor that completely hits its barn-sized target. Jamie Bishton's hot dog character is the most fun, but everyone has a good time in this finale of dancing food, which also includes a pair of lumpy chicken nuggets and a glittering trio of Hershey's Kisses doing rhythmic gymnast routines with their ribbons.

    Gluttony is probably the best word to describe the entire evening, with physical humor standing in for food.

    MAY 21, 2007

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