How it’s New York: The New Victory Theater productions at The Duke on 42nd Street are always as good as the
Broadway shows next door.
How it’s Irish: Theatre Lovett is Irish, as is Louis Lovett, and the show spins a delicious Irish tall tale.
It’s a very short run! Go see this show! Bring kids! No kids? Go see it anyway! Tell all your friends! The Duke, 229 W 42nd St until June 9th! What? Why? Oh, right. OK. OK. Let me back up a little.
Louis Lovett’s exuberant one-man show The Girl Who Forgot To Sing Badly tells the story of Peggy O’Hegarty and her parents. They are packers. They pack things into other things. They are very good at it: like 17 squirrels in 16 boxes in 15 minutes for $14 kind of good at it. One day they suddenly stop getting calls for jobs to pack things. Peggy discovers that it is because the whole city is now deserted. Peggy unravels this mystery and eventually saves the city. This is the tale that Louis Lovett has come to tell.
From the opening seconds you know you are in the hands of a pro. Lovett’s timing is immaculate, his vocal and physical skills unquestionable and from the outset he communicates exactly the kind of show this is and the audience, young and old, are completely comfortable with the idiom and ready to participate. Lovett reads and involves his audience brilliantly and the stepping in and out of the “play” is so deft that it is a thrill to see kids and grown ups play along.
Lynne Parker’s direction is spot on and Finegan Kruckenmeyer’s script note perfect and you cannot speak about this show without mentioning Paul O’Mahony’s tremendous set design, which packs so neatly into itself like an expertly-packed moving van but also unfolds into a whole world inside a world. It approaches a Third Policeman-like moment of beautiful strangeness that, well, all I can say is it involves a mouse but you’ll have to see for yourself. This staging is perfect: the set unpacks with exactly the same care, precision and dexterity as Lovett unpacks Peggy’s story.
Lovett’s is a virtuoso performance but never virtuosity for the sake of it – everything serves the whole.This is one of those treasured pieces of theater where every element is pulling in the same direction.
The production’s unity of intent makes for a wholly satisfying theatrical experience for the kids in the audience and the grown-ups and even the odder grown-up like this one cursed with the need to atomize and intellectualize it all.
Oh yeah and when you go make sure you get a copy of the souvenir program, The Theatre Lovett Trumpeter which contains more of the wildly inventive energy of the show but on paper.
Fri 6/7 7pm
Sat 6/8 2pm and 7pm
Sun 6/9 12pm and 5pm
To purchase tickets online, visit NewVictory.org, and to purchase by phone, call 646-223-3010. The New Victory Theater box office (209 West 42nd Street) is open Sunday and Monday from 11am-5pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm-7pm. For more information, visitwww.newvictory.org.
The Girl who Forgot to Sing Badly has a running time of 60 minutes, with no intermission, and is recommended for everyone ages seven and older.