Connelly Theater (see the Off-Off List). By Arthur Bicknell. Dir. Steven Carl McCasland. With ensemble cast. 2hrs 25mins. One intermission.
The most positive thing that you can say about Moose Murders Shamelessly Revised is that a truly excremental play has found its matching production: Arthur Bicknell’s clunky, puerile murder-mystery farce is performed by a cast of clueless amateurs—one of whom (Steven Carl McCasland) claims to have directed the shapeless mess. The tedious, laugh-free fiasco goes beyond a bad play poorly acted; if you were to give these sorry clowns The Glass Menagerie, they would find a way to stink it up.
When it opened (and immediately closed) on Broadway in 1983, the original Moose Murders became the stuff of legend: a grisly collision of greenbacks and greener talent that left reviewers agog and searching for antler puns. The only reason this bungled stunt is getting attention is because critics (this one included) were curious to see how Bicknell would tinker with the script. Not having done a close textual analysis of the old and new Moose, I’ll go out on a limb and say that he tried to make it suck less.
And he failed. The kid who wrote this campy, borderline-misogynist garbage was more talented than the man who tried to fix it 30 years later. If you were to give the play to Charles Busch, or a truly gonzo troupe such as the Amoralists, something lively might emerge. Instead, you have a fourth-rate Fringe Festival bore of the so-bad-it’s-awful variety. Sorry, flop vultures: Dem bones were picked clean long ago.—David Cote
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