Monday, May 07, 2007

PLAY: "The Receipt"

The Receipt, a quirky two-man (and a Moog) show about the gaping maw of urban life, is the perfect show for the 2007 Brits Off Broadway series running at 59E59. Not only is Will Adamsdale and Chris Branch's show a well-crafted comic narrative, but it's as applicable to New York as it is to the "unnamed" city they are "archeologizing" (cough, cough, "Glondon"). Commentaries about oddly named utilities like the Oyster (a tube pass) are the furthest this show gets from New York life, and there's plenty of Blackberries and Apples to balance the ludicrously commercial field (throw in a nearby Bloomingdale's self-aware "medium brown bag").

Adamsdale, doubling between a short-tempered narrator and the two protagonists of the show (a man, Wiley, and a woman, T.), is the energy of the show, and Branch, who plays all the other characters and serves as an electronic Foley artist on his synthesizer, is both a perfect anchor to the show (sedentary as is he is behind the keyboard) and partner to Adamsdale. At worst, the play gets a little repetitive in mocking the inane procedures of the city (a city drowning in paper). More often, however, the accelerating humor and genial tone of the narration (Adamsdale speaks directly to the audience) make these jokes endearingly postmodern and appropriate for the 'in-the-know' crowd.

The play inspires an awkward sort of hope: never mind that T. spends twenty-six hours on hold without ever getting through; she takes a long shower and celebrates her miniature victory: she outlasted the phone. Wiley, who is the more central focus, grows so perplexed by the contradictions of his corporation that he looks to connect with a complete stranger: his quest to trace a trashed receipt back to its original owner is the backbone of the play, and leads to some rather humorous encounters in places like Drincoffee and Bar Space Bar. It's a deviously clever look at our carefully managed routines, and at the prisons we build for ourselves in the name of freedom.

1 comment:

Statler said...

I saw "The Receipt" at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006 and thought it was great fun. I don't think it was quite as "deep" as they were aiming for, but for sheer entertainment value it was hard to beat.

Adamsdale and Branch make a great pairing and I'd love to have seen their "out of character" moments expanded.

Glad to see it made it all the way to NY.

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