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    2018-2019 reviews:


    L to R: Courtney Drasner, Joshua Dean, Kenneth Ziegler, Jamie Graham, Jillian Hollis, Jenny Rocha, Ben Franklin in The Dinner Party: A Whodunnit Cabaret
    Photo by Chris Harder
    L to R: Courtney Drasner, Joshua Dean, Kenneth Ziegler, Jamie Graham, Jillian Hollis, Jenny Rocha, Ben Franklin

    Hide Your Knives

    The Dinner Party: A Whodunnit Cabaret! in Galapagos Art Space


    Murder is messy — too many questions. Better to subsume it in spectacle and dance and have some fun. That's pretty much the gist of The Dinner Party: A Whodunnit Cabaret!, a twisted marriage of Clue the game and Rocky Horror the movie, to a soundtrack of rock and rap.

    Choreography by: dance: Jenny Rocha, aerials: Joshua Dean, Jennifer Kovacs, Lisa Natoi, juggling: Michael Karas.
    Dancers: Joshua Dean, Courtney Drasner, Ben Franklin, Jamie Graham, Jillian Hollis, Michael Karas, Jennifer Kovacs, Lisa Natoli, Jason Mejias, Molly Merkler, Rosie 151, Kenneth Ziegler and Jenny Rocha.
    Lighting design by: Kristopher Anton.
    Understudies: Casey Loomis, Stephanie Lane.
    Music Director, Production: Joseph Rivas.
    Acting/theater consultant: Natalie Martin.
    Galapagos Art Space
    October 24 and 25, 2014

    There are moments of wow and stretches of still, and MC/butler Ben Franklin does his best to knit the two. The logistics of setting up aerial interludes and squeezing performers through narrow walkways and balcony stairs occasionally gum things a bit, but the audience is ready to let that go. Tiny moments of excess keep us sated through the waits.

    Some excess works better than other, but the bits that hit hit well. A blazing opening of huge red stripper feathers, shivered like a pro by a hidden Kenneth Ziegler, leaves a glow for the first 10 minutes, and even overshadows his actual strip act from ripaway suit and tie to boxers and socks.

    A naughty doctor/patient duet, to Motley Crü's "Dr. Feelgood", carries some serious heat, with doctor Joshua Dean swinging in and around a giant ring above patient Rosie 151, who gives us vocals and skin as the doctor strips and stirs her.

    L to R: Lisa Natoli, Jenny Rocha, Jamie Graham, Michael Karas, Jillian Hollis (on chair), Joshua Dean, Courtney Drasner, Molly Merkler, Rosie151 in The Dinner Party: A Whodunnit Cabaret
    Photo by Chris Harder
    L to R: Lisa Natoli, Jenny Rocha, Jamie Graham, Michael Karas, Jillian Hollis (on chair), Joshua Dean, Courtney Drasner, Molly Merkler, Rosie151

    The cook also generates some heat, defying gravity in a lengthy fabric sling, in lingerie, until the climactic moment a mystery man deftly lifts himself into the fabric coccoon and slays her (Jennifer Kovacs).

    The best pure dance moments come in Courtney Drasner's Colonel Mustard-in-undies solo on and around a giant cannon, and in Jenny Rocha's zapwhap solo in as little as possible, while four headless men attend her.

    Ms. Rocha clearly knows how to put on a show. Fun dance numbers, seriously impressive aerialists, and silly theatrical antics all shout SHOWTIME. The Galapagos Art Space manages to feel both large and claustrophobia-inducing, which sometimes feeds the conceit of the show and sometimes hinders flow.

    NOVEMBER 1, 2014

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