Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Mr. Porter has put out reviews on “Something Intangible” and “Devil Boys from Beyond” this week. I still haven’t seen anything on “The Bluest Eye” and am wondering whether any of the local media outlets will be reviewing this Barksdale/VCU co-pro.

Style has Rich Griset’s take on “Quilters” this week as well as my review of “Devil Boys.” I’m sure there are aspects of this review that people won’t like, and I don’t mean the “deliriously funny” characterization. I hope I made it clear that I enjoyed this production; however, as someone once said, “I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em” and there were a couple places where I thought this romp got a little too loose. Some people may argue that the word “sloppy” doesn’t really have a place when you’re dealing with a campy “out there” piece like “Devil Boys,” but I don’t agree. Sometimes precision is exactly what makes comedy work.

As most any reader of this will know, Steve Moore is comedy royalty in this town. He’s a very funny comic and he does some very good work in “Devil Boys.” The bit with the suitcase works well once but then it becomes a joke of diminishing returns as it continues. And it characterized for me moments during the show when it seemed the players either seemed to be working too hard or were being a bit indulgent.

As far as the “shouting” comment goes, I was a little hesitant to get into this territory. This kind of criticism was the basis a couple of years ago for one of the most hot-button posts that ever ran on this blog and resurfaced recently in a review of “The BFG.” Personally, I can’t think of a time in the past where I’ve been particularly disturbed by this during a performance. However, the material in “Devil Boys” is wonderfully extreme already; I didn’t think it needed any extra volume to get the point across. In fact, some of the funniest lines are almost asides, like the particularly devilish one about Rock Hudson delivered in a perfectly soft purr by Mr. Moore.

But putting those points aside, I found a lot to enjoy at “Devil Boys” and was impressed by the ability of director James Alexander Bond to excel with this kind of campy silliness just as he has with his Shakespearean efforts. As every review has pointed out, the costumes are fabulous. I think Cairns and Hoskins could have a nicely lucrative line of fetish wear if they were inclined toward that business. Thomas Cunningham extends his streak of indelible roles with Lucinda Marsh; he has become one of those actors in town that I can’t wait to see what he will do next. I loved Timothy Goad’s “I am not insane” speech that opens the show and starts things off on the right foot. Tommy Callan made a lovely Matty and was a worthy foe for Cunningham’s Lucinda.

I left the show appreciating most the lower-key performances that made for a great counterpoint to the more flamboyant ones: Ryan Bechard’s hang-dog, hen-pecked alky who has a great moment of personal revelation and Bill Brock’s frustrated but inventive editor. “Devil Boys” may not exactly be high art, but it was certainly fun.

Best of all, it was a show that wasn’t afraid to get a little raunchy. There’s not many companies in town that can do much reveling in the raunch, which is just one of many reasons it’s always a treat to go to a Triangle Players show.


philcrosby said...

Dave, thanks for this wonderful codicil to your review. You are always honest, forthright, and well reasoned, so who can be mad -- even if they don't agree!

Everyone at RTP is very proud of show, and the audience reaction has been wonderful.

I do want to give a shout out to local company Skiviez, which donated most of the "alien couture." Their contribution to make the Boys look good enable Becky and Ann to focus on creating the amazing ensembles for everyone else in the company -- the costumes in this show are indeed amazing!

Thanks again Dave ... see you soon at the theater!

John McNie said...

Dave, I really feel that Thomas's over the top character worked beautifully within the context of this show and this called for his delivery to be quite dramatic at times. Being an over the top style show to begin with, I really feel the wonderfully experienced Mr. Bond whipped up a very clean and efficient show with controls expertly in place. If I understand Thomas's background correctly, being on the path of voice and speech expert here in town, he would be one of the first along with the fantastic director to recognize if it was too much and if he was also being loud/yelling for just the sake of being loud. I don't mean to sound confrontational as I do respect your views in the matter and clearly read your blog, however I'm not one to sugar coat as I feel many in town do and I felt it was important to bring the other side to light. Thanks Dave and I hope this finds you well.

Dave T said...

John and Phil,
Thank you both for your civil responses and, John, for your well-stated alternate take on Mr. Cunningham's performance. I DO so appreciate it when people respond with with intelligently phrased alternate opinions. And good insight on Thomas's background. No confrontation sensed, much respect generated! Thanks.