Theater review by Helen Shaw. New Ohio Theatre (see the Off-Off List). By Lynn Rosen. Codeveloped and directed by Shana Gold. With ensemble cast. 1hr 30mins. No intermission.
If anyone could play the rapping, omniscient DJ-cum-narrator in Lynn Rosen’s Goldor $ Mythyka, it would be Bobby Moreno. As he spins preshow tunes, throwing signs to his favorites in the house, our expectations cautiously rise. (Our spirits have been wobbly since we saw the faux-concrete set, because theater is notoriously dreadful at faking street cred.) But the lighthearted Moreno makes us hope, so…damn you, Bobby Moreno.
In fact, damn everybody, since they all bring their charismatic best to Rosen’s self-sabotaging drama about gamers turned folk-hero bandits. Delicate comic talents Garrett Neergaard and Jenny Seastone Stern play Bart and Holly, lovers who start taking their Dungeons & Dragons role-playing literally. They blush and stammer as employees of an armored-car company; then they fling themselves body and spandexed soul into their titular alter egos, who have a taste for real-life robbery. Rosen, unfortunately, seems uncomfortable writing in High Nerd (“Let us run to the Island of Flaming Desire!”)—her interest in gaming seems theoretical, her geek-badge in doubt. Her ambitious chronological structure also fails, since she hasn’t quite got the knack of time-hopping while also keeping our interest tethered.
There is, to be fair, sly metahumor in the lyrics she gives Moreno, her one-man hip-hop chorus—so it’s unfortunate that director Shana Gold cranks the pace and gimmickry to a humor-and-comprehension-killing level. The fable takes the initiative in discussing serious stuff like the economy and escapism, but is drowned out by a cluttered production full of unnecessary noise.—Helen Shaw