Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Surreal Adventures of The Angry Redheaded Lawyer: "Singin' in the ER!" by Ruby Lynn Reyner at Theater for the New City

First off, please don't bring your young kids to this. Seriously, DO NOT BRING YOUR KIDS!!!!! Unless maybe you're comfortable discussing sexually charged topics or you'd like to explain to your young one just how Herve got up there, don't bring minor children. This show is not for small kids or your puritanical family members (like my mother, though she surprises me sometimes). It IS, however, for those with a punk sensibility and a wicked sense of humor as this show is chocked full of that along with cleverness. I came with a friend of mine who's also a blogger & likes theater. Make sure you go check out her blog.

Our story follows the goings on at St. Vickies, the hospital where maybe you'll be in tiptop shape again in no time. But do you REALLY want to be? After all, Dr. Shlong (Levi Wise) is the man with the healing hands and the bedroom eyes. Amanda Reckonwith (Ruby Lynn Reyner, who's also the director and writer of this tale) would certainly agree as a former Broadway star who's had her fair share of men and good times. She comes to St. Vickies with a few aliments, including a serious pain in her lady areas. With some dedicated medical attention, Dr. Shlong finds none other than Herve Villechaize of “Fantasy Island” fame. Even Amanda doesn't know how he got there but he's conflicted between his freedom and the comfort of Amanda's warm nether regions.

L-R: Mila Levine, Robin Brenner,Xan Aspero, Levi Wise. Behind: musician Mary E. Rodriguez

Ruby Lynn Reyner as Amanda Reckonwith

Amanda Reckonwith gives birth. L-R: Levi Wise, Ruby Lynn Reyner, Xan Aspero

Nurse Dynel (Robin Brenner) was absolutely awesome as she says the things you figure most nurses want to say in real life but know they can't. She is not a woman who is kind to the patients, especially Scabby (Richard Craven) the junkie who seems to have taken up de facto residence at the hospital and Amanda who she claims is only there to see Dr. Shlong for her own extracurricular purposes. Like in real life, it's Nurse Dynel who's really running the show as she informs Dr. Shlong that she'll have to inform his wife about his dalliances if he doesn't play ball.

Robin Brenner, Richard Craven

Levi Wise, Robin Brenner

There's also Jennifer Berkowitz (Joyce Miller), the dedicated social worker who decides to turn over a new leaf after meeting with Scabby (or “Skuh-bee” as she calls him) and Dr. Doomskya (Laura Pruden) who had the coolest costuming with IV tubes in her hair as pins. Don't dare call Dr. Doomskya “Mrs. Kevorkian” even if that's literally her function at the hospital. Nurse Dynel will also let you know that “die” and “crazy” are also forbidden terms at St. Vickies. There's also some additional craziness but let's leave a few surprises, shall we?

Richard Craven, Joyce Miller

Laura Pruden

The d├ęcor for this show was awesome. I loved the blood splattered on the wall & the IV in Dr. Doomskya's hair. The nurse narrator (Sara Cook) was great with exposition and seemed a great contrast to the commanding presence of Nurse Dynel. She seemed like the nurse you'd hope to get if you were at St. Vickies. You also must hear the songs in person, especially “Biggest Balls” and the title song “Singin' in the ER.”

Sara Cook. Behind: musician Mary E. Rodriguez

I went into this as someone who's spent some time in hospitals, more recently when my father was unconscious then unplugged from life support and to visit a friend undergoing treatment for gastrointestinal matters. They aren't the most fun places and I've heard great tales of the gallows humor permeating in the medical profession. Since humor is the best way to cope with tragedy in my book, this show was certainly intriguing to me. It actually went to an entirely new level of humor I didn't quite expect. My friend, who I'd learned that evening had worked in a hospital before, also got a kick out of this show. It definitely fits into that old school NYC sensibility so if you've been missing that, go see this one ASAP.