Sunday, November 22, 2015

Important Hats of the Twentieth Century *

I wasn’t all that fond of Nick Jones’s “Verité” at LCT3 last winter, but it seems like “Hamlet” compared to his new comedy at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Studio at Stage II. Imagine a very, very long Saturday Night Live sketch or a class play whipped up by stoned students at some fashion school. The insipid plot involves Sam Greevy (a misused Carson Elrod), a top 1930’s designer of haute couture; T.B. Doyle (John Behlmann), the fashion reporter he is sleeping with; and Paul Roms (Matthew Saldivar), a rival designer who introduces future fashion ideas such as sweatshirts and skater pants, using a time travel hat that he has stolen from mad scientist Dr. Cromwell (Remy Auberjonois). Roms’s portal to the future is through the closet of Albany teenager Jonathan (Jon Bass) whose father Darryl (Triney Sandoval) he accidentally kidnaps. Reed Campbell, Maria Elena Ramirez and Henry Vick round out the cast in multiple roles. Timothy R. Mackabee designed the minimalist set. Jennifer Moeller's clever costumes are the production's creative highlight. Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Verité, Hand To God) directed. Prepare yourself to be traumatized by the sight of masturbating yetis. And did I mention that mysterious glowing space balls are attacking New York? What were the folks at MTC thinking when they decided to subject us to this drivel? Honesty demands that I report there were a few in the audience who expressed their approval loudly and often. Running time: two hours, including intermission.

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