Party Hardly

Theatre Three throws a Wild Party that's short on thrills, including the orgy

Ric Leal has a high old time chewing up scenery as the flirtatious, "ambisextrous'' Jackie. He's fine in two solos, "Breezin' through Another Day'' and "More'' (a tribute to cocaine and excess). Marcus H. Mauldin floats like a butterfly and sings beautifully as the punch-drunk prizefighter Eddie Mackrel. Playing Eddie's ditzy wife, Mae, leggy Renee Smith might have a chance of making a better impression were she not costumed in what appears to be a turquoise-sequined 1980s J.C. Penney prom dress.

The costumes in Theatre Three productions often are--no, they always are--the weakest design element, and that's never been truer than in The Wild Party. Hampered by a skimpy budget, short production schedule or whatever the excuse, costumer Patty Korbelic Williams has failed to render anything close to 1920s fashions for any of the characters. The women's dresses look like re-altered, gussied-up matron-of-honor gowns rescued from Goodwill, all of them the wrong length, color or silhouette for the period or their wearers. Queenie's one outfit, a slinky red minidress, reads "casino cocktail waitress'' more than Jazz Age flapper and makes Riggs look even more bony and washed out.

Set designers Harland Wright and Juan DiNero have festooned the acting space with beaded curtains and paper lanterns, so many lanterns, in fact, that the view of Queenie's bedroom upstage is blocked for those sitting in seats higher up. It wouldn't matter much, except there is a brief glimpse of Ocasio in a state of full dorsal nudity toward the end of the show. Not quite enough to get this lukewarm Party started, but we'll take our thrills where we can get them.

Top to bottom: Skie Ocasio, Lisa Gabrielle Greene, Ric Leal do the not-so-Wild thing.
Andy Hanson
Top to bottom: Skie Ocasio, Lisa Gabrielle Greene, Ric Leal do the not-so-Wild thing.


continues at Theatre Three through February 28.

Call 214-871-3300.

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