By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
There is a plot in Asylum. United against their Nurse Ratched, the puppet patients help each other find some semblance of recovery. In the poignant opener of the second act, Coppertone sings a plaintive "What Kind of Fool Am I?," his little green face straining upward to reach high notes. You'll swear there are tears in those white plastic eyes.
The poignancy is more contrived, but still rather enjoyable, in Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, the second show of the new season at Theatre Too (below Theatre Three in The Quadrangle). Richard Alfieri's transparent two-hander matches a middle-aged by-the-hour dance instructor (Bob Hess, believably Terpsichorean) with a reclusive widow (Elly Lindsay, glowing under her corona of white hair). She hires him for six weeks of tangos and foxtrots in her Florida condo—more out of loneliness than a desire to polish ballroom technique.
Over six short scenes and an epilogue, the characters build an odd but genuine friendship. He's flamboyantly gay, which challenges her "hate the sin, love the sinner" brand of benign bigotry. And he's good at calling the old lady on her numerous lies, which include some sad family secrets and finally an admission of recurring health problems.
Deathtrap continues through September 26 at Pocket Sandwich Theatre. Call 214-821-1860.
Coppertone III: Asylum continues through September 19 at The Ochre House. Call 214-826-6273.
Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks continues through September 20 at Theatre Too. Call 214-871-3300.
The magical touches are many in this production, but they come out of the onstage partnership of two skilled actors, not much from the spotty script, which is short on logical transitions and long on bad jokes about "Ensure daiquiris" and how 9:30 is midnight for the elderly.
It could easily devolve into "Dancing With Miss Daisy," but graceful, thoughtful work by director Terry Dobson, choreographer Michael Serrecchia and the cast, Hess and Lindsay, keeps this light-in-its-loafers comedy from stumbling.