Critical jottings: “Tiny Little Town” from TMB

‘plein air’ rehearsal, courtesy tmb

Summertime and the living is meant to be easy …. so why doesn’t it feel that way? Not really loving the Congressional Hearings? Spending $120 at Trader Joe’s for a bag of stuff that recently cost half that much? Is it the fact that COVID just won’t stop — and even Anthony Fauci has had enough?

We’ve been doing a grab-bag of arts stuff, and some of it merits mention. When it’s good, it feels like everything is right with the world, if only for a spell.

I immensely enjoyed a workshop production of “Tiny Little Town, A New Musical” a thinly veiled allegory to our own society’s “issues” by the witty folk who comprise Theatre Movement Bazaar. In keeping with TMB’s revamping classical texts into more accessible mime/physical theatre, “Tiny LIttle Town” is an adaptation of a seminal play dating to the 1830s by the Ukrainian playwright, Nikolai Gogal.

Gogal’s “The Inspector General” holds as its comic premise the rapidity with which decorum shakes loose when a small-town mayor, and his cronies and cohorts, learn they are on the cusp of an inspection visit from Central Government.

Woefully reminiscent of a country with which we are perilously familiar, the citizens of this tiny little town lose no time in bringing forth their worst qualities once unleashed — paranoia, fear, corruption, suspicion. All their scheming and machinations gets piled onto a random visitor they assume to be the much-feared inspector. This otherwise clueless gentleman accepts their miscalculation with delight. The show’s dense text, adapted by TMB founder Richard Alger, is hilariously delivered by a very talented, highly interactive cast. The very good TMB actors put their body into it; a special shout-out goes to Nikhil Pai, as Khlestakov, for his superb language skills and quicksilver acting style so fitting to the farcical nature of this show. Songs by Wes Myers, with lyrics by Alger, punch up the proceedings, and clear-cut movement staging and fun choreography by director and TMB Founder, Tina Kronis, keeps it active and alive. I’m hoping the show will soon get a proper production, for I would gladly sit through it again. Much talent on view — and great, relevant material.

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