offoffoff theater



Site links
  • Contact us

    Get our newsletter:
    Search the site:

    Theater section
  • Theater main page
  • Theater archive
  • Theater links

    Current theater

  • Fall Briefs
  • Nick


    Complete archive, 1999-present

    2008-2009 reviews:
  • Anaïs Nin Goes To Hell
  • beast: a parable
  • Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire
  • Blasted
  • Buffalo Gal
  • China: The Whole Enchilada
  • The Corn Maiden
  • Crawl, Fade to White
  • Doruntine
  • Extraordinary Rendition
  • The First Breeze of Summer
  • Fringe Festival 2008
  • Fringe Festival favorites
  • The Glass Cage
  • Hair
  • Hidden Fees* (A Play About Money)
  • Jailbait
  • King of Shadows
  • The Longest Running Joke of the Twentieth Century
  • Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising
  • Macbeth
  • The Master Builder
  • Missa Solemnis, or The Play About Henry
  • Mourn the Living Hector
  • A Nasty Story
  • Nowadays
  • the october crisis (to laura)
  • Oresteia
  • Other Bodies
  • Prayer
  • Psalms of a Questionable Nature
  • Raised by Lesbians
  • Reasonable Doubt
  • Sleepwalk With Me
  • Small Craft Warnings
  • Something Weird . . . in the Red Room
  • Soul Samurai
  • The Sound of One Hanna Clapping
  • Southern Promises
  • The Third from the Left
  • Twelfth Night
  • Voices from Guantánamo
  • The Wendigo
  • Zombie


      Cooking the Books
    Not enough on their plate

    "Cooking the Books" is an unsuccessful attempt at a hip-hop musical mystery.


    You can be assured of a very gracious greeting at the door, a decent meal and a group of actors with the earnest desire to see you entertained at "Cooking the Books," but sincerity isn't enough to make this show a winner.

    Playwright Tavern
    202 West 49th St.
    Previews start: June 5, 2004
    Opens: June 20, 2004

    This musical — sort of a revue intercut with video plot advancements — is made by people with a general idea of how to put a show together but none of the particulars. Soul and rap numbers on different subjects seem to loosely follow some kind of story line, but the details are vague. First somebody gets killed on video — and then forgotten the next minute. Then a group of "executives" argue musically about an embezzlement gone wrong, which they decide to pin on another guy who also only exists on video. Then somebody else gets killed, then there's an argument, then ... whatever. This is a "hip-hop murder mystery" in name only — there's nothing to be figured out, and there's nothing engaging about the presentation either.

    In the show's defense, a couple of cast members have decent voices and there is one number ("Bitch, I'm Better than You"), pitting them against each other, that seemed to perk up the crowd a little. On the other hand, almost all the singing is in unison, as if the composers had never heard of the concept of harmony. It's just one way that the production fails to inspire confidence from its earliest moments. The main thing this production has going for it is good intentions, and that's not enough.

    JUNE 18, 2004

    Post a comment on "Cooking the Books"