By The Theatre Gay
Intelligence is sexy. It can stimulate your mind as well as well, other parts of your anatomy. But pretending to be who you’re not? Well that’s just downright rude. In David Ives’ new adaptation of Alexis Piron’s The Metromaniacs, passion, poetry, and presumed identity clash together in a positively pickling predicament. And now, in its world premiere at the Shakspeare Theatre, it’s packed with punches, proclamations of love, and even some pantomime. Alright, I’m done with Ps now, I swear.
At curtain up, Francalou (Adam LeFevre) is staging a play in his house for his metromaniac daughter, Lucille (Amelia Pedlow). A metromaniac, for those who don’t know, is one who’s obsessed with poetry. Enter Damis (Christian Conn) an aspiring poet, who, while in Paris goes by the name Cosmos. Damis is obsessed with a poetess named Meriadoc. He is told by Francalou that Meriadoc is here in his house incognito. Damis assumes Francalou is talking about his daughter Lucille, but in reality Francalou is the poetess Meriadoc. Damis then confuses Lucille’s woman, Lisette (Dina Thomas), with Lucille. Oh, and Lucille has also confused Damis with Dorante (Anthony Roach), a hunky non-poet who happened to have one of Damis poems. Honestly, there are a few more mistaken identities that I missed in there, but suffice to say, it has a happy ending! Oh, and did I mention they only speak in rhyming couplets?
This new adaptation is phenomenal. With witty quips, percussive alliteration, and appropriately timed anachronisms, the script flies with a kind of vim and vigor you’d see on an Aaron Sorkin show. And the actors perform it brilliantly, whether it be Thomas’ snarky asides, Conn’s proclamations of love, or Pedlow’s apathetic “whatevers,” each line is a perfect composition for the actors to deliver. Each performance was great, but what really worked was the ensemble’s trust in each other. There was never a pause that left us hanging. It was as if they were all playing the same piano, and when one note was finished, the next finger came to pluck the note after it.
And I’d be remiss to not mention the design. James Noone’s set gives us the flat whimsy that the play, and the characters so often espouse. And the tits-up-ass-out corseted costume design of Murell Horton is still giving me the vapors. Let me just say, I’ve got a thing for a man in a good waistcoat.
Metromaniacs is fun, sexy, lighthearted, and might even end with a gay marriage! Who knew the French were so French when it came to relationships? Go and check it out. It’s the perfect play to take a date to, and with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, you might need a little poetry to land that good night kiss.