Call it the Nightmare on 42nd Street, just in time for Halloween: A horror show named Trip Of Love has taken over the Little Shubert Theatre, recently renamed Stage 42 possibly so patrons will forget that nothing here has ever won the love of critics or theatergoers. New name or no new name, the theater remains the Bermuda Triangle of shows — in this case, deservedly so. Trip Of Love will quickly disappear into the floposphere.
This hallucinogenically vacant mish-mosh of Sixties hits would, however, fit perfectly on the Las Vegas Strip. There’s no dialogue, just a little under two hours of synthesized numbers that are bleated by an almost all-white cast, successfully scrubbing each song of any identifiable meaning. And so Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” bleeds into “Wipe Out,” which seeps into “Where The Boys Are” which of course brings up Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual,” etc. An Eydie Gorme-type starts things off with the Michel Legrand/Alan and Marilyn Bergman “Windmills Of Your Mind,” setting off an Alice down-the-rabbit-hole scenario (yes, there’s “White Rabbit”) for a Kristin Chenoweth-type in this short, strange journey into Blunderland.
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Devised by James Walski, a former dancer without an original idea in his herky-jerky arsenal, the show had a successful run seven years ago in Osaka, Japan. The cast works overtime putting the numbers across despite the director/choreographer’s overriding devotion to kitsch, merging beefcake (it’s a chest show, male and female), wigs and for good measure a little Vietnam porn.
Broadway pros are involved in this mess, including the groovy environmental set by Robin Wagner, who offers one inside joke: In “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ ” (led by cast stand-out Dionne Figgins), a mirrored cube appears onstage, with the chorus line of dancers watching their own images reflected back to them.
That’s as deep as thing get.
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