TONY FRANKELstage and cinema/bitter lemonscertified reviewerJune 14, 2011
Tony Frankel, theatre critic for Stage and Cinema here. Had someone other than Michael Shaw Fisher directed his new play The Barking Pig, it may have been easier to ascertain if the script even has potential. Ultimately, Mr. Fisher can not be dismissed as a writer - in fact, his script barks with potential, but the direction lacks nuance and focus.
The idea is superb: seven unique characters (who just happen to congregate in a small town bar at the same time) receive a phone call from escaped convict Victor Helms, announcing his plans (via a creepy, piggy poem) that he is on his way to murder one of the patrons. While waiting for the porcine Godot, Fisher's characters take us on an existential journey that is occasionally funny, but enigm...
I really wanted to like this show. I like absurdist theatre, I love wacky characters, I adore shows with built-in drinking games.
But from the brusque box office guy, to the almost apologetic curtain speech ("If you want, raise a beer when anyone says 'To Jake.' (shrug) I mean, that's the idea, anyway." (shrug)), to the fairly static blocking, over-long script, out-of-tune guitar, odd casting choices, and uneven energy levels… I just never managed to connect with this show.
That said, although some of the cast seemed mis-cast, which amplified the overall amateurishness — the guy they comment on losing his hair, clearly has a full head of hair. The 'unattractive goth chick with cankles" has none of those attributes. I'd say, cut the ref...