Food, Part 1: Wednesday night I went to a talk by Laura Silver, promoting her book about knishes. She was entertaining, especially as she described various other foods like borekas and samosas as "knishin’ cousins." Someone asked where to get a good knish in Washington and she didn’t have a real answer. The correct answer is, of course, Union Station, where you can hop a train to New York.
Food, Part 2: I went out with flyertalk friends to the newish Crystal City branch of We the Pizza on Thursday night. Unfortunately, they don’t have an alcohol license yet, so they didn’t have beer, which I consider to be the appropriate beverage with pizza. I got salad and a slice of mushroom pizza, which was pretty tasty. Afterwards, we went across the street to a frozen yogurt place. And there were fireflies in the shrubs, which always makes me happy.
Side Show:This was the musical I was most looking forward to all season and my anticipation was well-rewarded. I had some familiarity with the original score and a long-standing interest in conjoined twins, so it was right up my alley. The Kennedy Center production, which I saw Friday night, is getting a lot of attention since the show has been heavily revised from its Broadway incarnation, with the plot making more sense and major changes in the score. Fortunately, the best of the songs from the original, including the luscious "Who Will Love Me As I Am?" were retained. I know enough about Daisy and Violet Hilton to know that much of the book was fictionalized but, frankly, I didn’t care. The music was lovely, the characters were interesting, and the overall questions the show raises about normalcy and exploitation are interesting. There were fine performances by Erin Davie as Violet, Emily Padgett as Daisy, and David St. Louis as Jake. I also want to note Anthony Van Laast’s choreography, which dealt ably with the challenge of creating dances for two characters who are literally joined at the hip. If you see one musical in the DC metro area this year, this is the one to see.
Boeing Boeing: Saturday afternoon’s theatre expedition was to Signature Theatre to see the No Rules Theatre Company production of what is alleged to be the most-performed French play of all time. So apparently the French really do prefer Jerry Lewis to, say, Moliere. It’s a dated farce, involving a man named Bernard, who juggles his three flight hostess fiancées. Life gets complicated when flight schedules change, leading all three of them to be in Paris at the same time. Bernard’s friend, Robert, shows up and, along with his housekeeper, helps to keep Bernard out of trouble. I have no qualms about the performances, with Jamie Smithson particularly notable as Robert (the role Jerry Lewis played in the movie version, by the way.) But I am not a big fan of this sort of thing, where the humor all depends on a lot of carefully-timed and contrived comings and goings. Give me dark, twisted humor instead, please. By the way, the production was sponsored by Boeing and they gave out Boeing caps as the audience left.
Story Swap: As if my weekend wasn’t busy enough, our monthly story swap was Saturday night. It was, as always, fun. I made my first attempt at telling a Slovenian story from the book I bought in Ljubljana. I also ended up reciting The Owl and the Pussycat because it turns out that Tim didn’t know it. The highlight of the evening for me was Jules telling the beginning of Thurber’s The Thirteen Clocks.
Cloak and Dagger: The weekend (and the Signature Theatre season) ended with this new musical on Sunday afternoon. Despite the name, Cloak and Dagger has nothing to do with spies, but is, instead, a parody of film noir / hard-boiled detective clichés. The title is hardly the only mis-step. There were numerous anachronisms, which I found annoying. For example, the show is supposedly set in the early 1950’s, but there was a reference to the Muppets and the word "ho" was used to refer to a prostitute. The songs were catchy, but fairly generic and didn’t particularly advance the plot. I did, however, end up with a bit of an earworm and have been humming the extremely silly "Who Put the Mob in Mobster?" much of the day. I like to support the production of new musicals, but this one was more what I’d expect from a high school group (or maybe a fringe company) than from one of the most prestigious regional theatres in the country.