By Mary Damiano | Contributing Writer for THE NEW PELICAN
The need to belong and the desire for love are explored against the backdrop of a gay wedding in “Bright Colors and Bold Patterns,” now playing through June 20 at Island City Stage in Wilton Manors.
Josh and Brennan are getting married and a handful of their guests are gathered for a wedding eve pool party at the home where they’re staying in sunny Palm Springs. Gerry [Thomas Mark] doesn’t just arrive at the kitschy, color-drenched patio, he makes a dizzying entrance, akin to the tornado that swept Dorothy and Toto off to Oz. He insinuates himself into every conversation between the other guests – unseen, as this is a one-man show – demanding to be the center of attention.
He explains his solo appearance by announcing that his hot, younger boyfriend wanted to be there but had a work thing, later adding that they had a big fight, though it’s clear that there’s a lot Gerry’s not saying about this relationship, at least until the second act.
Gerry rants about a lot of topics – the creepiness of Candace Bergen, the origins of Dana Delaney, the plots of Lifetime movies – Gerry has opinions about everything.
He also takes issue with the fine print on the wedding invitation, asking guests to refrain from wearing bright colors and bold patterns, which gives way to one of the best lines of the night when Gerry describes the house’s décor as “Trina Turk and Betsey Johnson threw up Bacardi Razz and sold it to Target.”
But the thing that really has Gerry unnerved is that his ex-boyfriend Dwayne is also staying at the house, along with his much younger and very hot boyfriend Mack. And although he makes lots of jokes about it, the awkward situation is difficult for Gerry to handle.
Drew Droege wrote and starred in “Bright Colors and Bold Patterns” in its original off-Broadway run. Island City Stage’s production features Mark, whose frenetic performance radiates nuanced pain through all of Gerry’s obnoxious behavior. Although the writing is quite funny, and one marvels at Gerry’s zig-zagging references and Mark’s sarcastic, biting delivery, sometimes it’s hard to laugh because Gerry’s over-the-top personality masks his insecurities. Mark’s performance imbues humanity into a character that in lesser hands could come off as one-dimensional.
Michael Leeds keeps the pace lively and brisk in the first act and deftly navigates the mood change in the second act. Jodi Dellavantura’s scenic design takes the play’s title literally with fabulous results. David Hart nails the sounds and soundtrack of a rollicking pool party. Ardean Landhuis’s lighting creates a terrific atmosphere.
“Bright Colors and Bold Patterns” is the final show in Island City Stage’s ninth season and is the perfect Pride Month play. Gerry is a character you won’t soon forget.
“Bright Colors and Bold Patterns” runs through June 27 at Island City Stage, 2304 N. Dixie Hwy. in Wilton Manors. Visit islandcitystage.org for tickets and more information.