For those of you who appreciate an old fashion verbal throw down, with vampish mean girls slinging humorous insults with dagger eyes while one of the central male characters works out a little gender identity problem with shocking Drag Queen resolve, then check out the hilarious Shakespeare Theatre Company’s final season production of ‘SCHOOL FOR LIES’’.
I got to warn you, this is a comedy with rapid fire couplet code words in verse. Imagine a French ’HAMILTON’ a hundred years before the 1776 Revolution, when powdered white wigs and puffy shirts with legs stockings were the style!
SCHOOL FOR LIES is so outrageously funny, with gender bending rapid fire ‘femsplaining’ dialogue, that it makes this one act play seem like an HBO one hour Saturday night special. Thanks to Costume Designer Murell Horton, it could almost make a Straight Guy with a Queer Eye want to dress in Drag!
CLASS PAY CLOSE ATTENTION – For those of you, who missed English Lit, get ready for some ‘Iambic Pentameter’, which is nothing but five lines of poetry that does not rhyme, AKA blank verse. Then you have to understand playwright David Ives brilliant vision and use of “translaptation”, or the ability to translate a 400 year old French language play with a modern twist.
Now you are ready to head to the theater, but before you go, you need a WWE WrestleMania type Lineup Card. Here are the protagonists: Frank, an obnoxious American style Alpha Male played with authentic swagger by Gregory Wooddell who is too Blunt to Hunt; Celimene, with the accent on ‘Mean’, the hot young widow cautiously rating her top draft choice suiters with a dismissive air, played with a New Age feminist forward leaning attitude by scene steeling Victoria Frings.
So the other Mean Girl, who has become the face of ‘LIES’ is Veanne Cox, who channels the Lilly Tomlin, Ernestine the telephone gossip queen juicy role of Arsinoe, the shameless pillar of virtue who seeks out the worst in her female rivals. Think Joan Rivers on a red lip shaped lounge asking you “Can we talk?”
Arsinoe is a vector for the gaggle of lawyers who chase slander suits among the rich and famous, whenever her salacious lies hit the street. “Don’t think I’m gossiping. I just report!” says Arsinoe in true Louelle Parsons Hollywood gossip columnist style!
And these bitches can talk. Without revealing the plot, which is too outrageous and funny to translate in five unrhymed lines, all the women want a female superior position and ruthlessly pursue their sometimes misplaced desires on Frank, whose nose becomes wide open when he gets a whiff of Celimene’s petty coat!
“Love the Sinners, Hate the Sin” is the order of the day in 1666 Paris, but with a HIP HOP and Valley Girl ‘Like , You Know?’ sidebar by Celimene and her crew of hottie wing women featuring Doris Schmidt as Eliante, AKA ‘Filatio’ who can’t seem to score a date, much less a husband.
Philinte is one of the central male characters played with an over-the-top CIS gender feel by Cody Nickell, who successfully works off a little gender identity problem with shocking Drag Queen resolve. And I can’t ignore Liam Craig performance as Acaste, who deserves a major Shout Out as a member of the talented ensemble cast, who plays the rich but clueless member of the line of fools who hopelessly pursue Celimene’s hand in marriage.
By the way, the play opens to a lush aqua blue parlor setting with a rich color scheme featuring Scenic Designer Alexander Dodge’s stylish touch of a red lip-shaped couch, complimented by a 16 quadruple dresser drawer with a lady’s ladder. It seductively lures you in and the stylish set never distracts from the dialogue.
SCHOOL FOR LIES is so hot, it has already been extended through July 9th by The Shakespeare Theatre Company at the Lansburgh Theater on 7th Street in the Penn Quarter entertainment district near the Verizon Center. For tickets and show schedule GOOGLE www.shakespearetheatre.org