YOU SHOULDN’T LAUGH AT DEATH, BUT, OH, BOY
By Roger Martin ATCA
It’s Island City Stage and the house is packed. As it has been since opening night. And as it will be right through the end of the extended run of Who Killed Joan Crawford? It’s time for a killing. Or two. Or three. And it’s certainly time for laugh out loud funny.
Playwright Michael Leed’s paean to Joan Crawford, dark and stormy nights in isolated cabins, Ten Little Indians, and every gay, straight, show business, sexual and sexist, murderous, suicidal, acerbic joke that’s ever been written, is pretty much as much fun as can be packed into a ninety minute one act.
Five guys wearing dresses is not a drag show; it’s a sight gag that works from lights up to down. These babes would stop a 747 in full flight at thirty-five thousand feet.
Kevin Reilley, Troy J. Stanley, Andy Rogow, Barry Marcus and Christian Vandenpas have been invited to a friend’s birthday party in his comfortable cabin in upstate New York. Each has come dressed as a character from a Joan Crawford movie and each has an agenda. Reilly invests in Broadway shows, Stanley is a PR flack, Rogow a psychiatrist, Marcus a fading composer and Vandenpas is a boy toy.
The friend, a Broadway star played by Vic Shunal, is missing. The angst begins and the high camp warning light shines brightly. Bodies fall and songs are sung. Marcus at the grand piano with his latest hit. And Rogow singing Won’t You Be My Neighbor will haunt your sleep for many nights to come.
A solid ensemble cast, entertaining in every way, deserves the constant laughter.
There’s nothing mean about Who Killed Joan Crawford? It’s a friendly show, well written albeit needing a little stronger finish. Writer Michael Leeds directed with much humor.
Who Killed Joan Crawford? is a world premiere at Island City Stage and they’ve done well by it. The Joan Crawford memory bedecked cabin is by Michael McClain. The costumes by Peter A. Lovello and the wigs by Ellis Tillman couldn’t be more appropriate. Lights by Preston Bircher and sound by David Hart are excellent.
Who Killed Joan Crawford? plays through Feb. 21 at 2304 North Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors.954-519-2533 www.islandcitystage.org/