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      The Florida Project
    Wet's the big idea

    "The Florida Project," about a roadside mermaid and alligator-wrestling act, is not so much a sharp-witted satire as an excuse to plunge a bunch of actors into a big tank of water.


    It's hard to know where satirical dumbness ends and just plain dumbness takes over in "The Florida Project," the story of a lame roadside mermaid and alligator-wrestling attraction off the beaten path in Florida.

    Written and directed by: Tory Vazquez.
    Cast: Juliana Francis, Kristin Kosmas, Aaron Landsman, Richard Maxwell, Chris Sullivan, Tory Vazquez.
    When you come in you'll be cheerily welcomed to Weeki Wachee Springs, the "City of Mermaids," whose slogan is "We've Got the World by the Tail."

    This aquatic show is, as we eventually learn, the failing, family-operated successor to the highly successful attraction "Ross Allen's Reptile Lust." Since the Allen patriarch's demise, the children have moved the operation, accidentally dispatched the star alligator, and pretty nearly run the business into the ground.

    This is not a bad premise for a satire, but the show doesn't live up to its possibilities. At first the silly mermaid act and the clumsy dance numbers seem intentionally inane (after one, a character declares, "That was ridiculous," acknowledging the obvious), but as they continue with increasing earnestness, you begin to worry that they're altogether sincere.

    The script doesn't quite have the wit to make either sense or fun of this strange display, so maybe the point of the whole show is simply to put a big tank of water in the middle of a stage and see how many characters you can dunk in it in an hour. Answer: pretty much all of them.

    MARCH 6, 2001

    Reader comments on The Florida Project:

  • Low quality   from Erica Zafarana, Dec 18, 2001

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