Directed and Choreographed by Tralen Doler
Reviewed by Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited
I have never felt like a bigger fool than when I wasted two hours and fifteen minutes enduring the new musical “Foolerie” presented as part of NYMF at the PTC Performance Space. To substantiate my point, regarding the reason to persevere, I ran across this quote by Benjamin Franklin: “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do”
Yes, it is the audience who were the biggest fools who were hoodwinked into thinking they were actually going to see what is billed as “A Shakespearean Musical Comedy.” It actually has nothing to do with Shakespeare except for the shallow, stereotypical, references to some of his works, which desperately try to evoke a humorous storyline without much success. The book, music and lyrics are credited to the young Santino DeAngelo. His book is empty and meaningless with no plot or dramatic arc to speak of but merely serves as a vehicle for tasteless humor similar to the borsht belt of the early seventies. Sparing any innuendo or inventive parody the result is sophomoric vulgarity. The characters are shallow, shapeless and two dimensional with absolutely no emotional depth. The music is not an homage to the great Sondheim but more of a carbon copy and a bit too close for comfort. The lyrics are pretentious and insipid lacking any character support. If asked to give a vivid description of this production, I would say it was as if Don Rickles wrote a Monty Python skit that was a total disaster and complete failure.
There is an ominous foreshadowing as you leaf through the program and notice that two full pages are filled with the Author’s and Director’s Notes which acknowledges the following: “Lords and Ladies, Madams and Messieurs, Clergymen and Whores, Welcome.” Director and Choreographer Tralen Doler is able to move his troupe of fools through the antics but fails to add anything to the already bleak storyline. The choreography is pedestrian with constant replication of movement from several popular shows, and believe me this has nothing to do with parody. The cast does what it can with the material they are given to work with but most end up falling prey to stereotype which only adds insult to injury. Standing out vocally are Olivia Polci and Patrick Massey does a fine job with Malvolio’s Soliloquy but relies too much on a conventional and clichéd image.
In summation, I quote another playwright well known in many theatrical circles: “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit” (William Shakespeare).