Silence is Golden (Then, Not)

More care has been given to non-acting aspects of Better Doctor, which unfolds on a wide stretch of floor inside the converted West Dallas warehouse where Upstart now resides. Gorgeous backdrops by Isaac, Jerod and Josh Davies look like giant black-and-white pencil sketches of old buildings. Costumes reflecting generic if not accurate 1920s styles are designed by Jennifer Madison in soft blacks and grays. Filmed sequences by Marc Rouse have that faded, grainy texture of vintage celluloid. A live band adds a bouncy score and goofy pennywhistle effects.

Besides Lyle's deft touch as director, two other key elements are missing from The Better Doctor, however: Jeff Swearingen and Ben Bryant. These Dallas actors starred in Lyle's earlier pieces and their absence is felt in the new one. Both top-notch pratfall artists, they have comedy rhythms in their bones.

J. Mathew Butler as "Hanibal Lichter" and Austin Tindle as "Clarice" in Uptown Players' drag comedy cannibalization, The Silence of the Clams.
Mike Morgan
J. Mathew Butler as "Hanibal Lichter" and Austin Tindle as "Clarice" in Uptown Players' drag comedy cannibalization, The Silence of the Clams.

Location Info

Map

The Rose Room

3911 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75219

Category: Gay Bars and Clubs

Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn

Details

The Silence of the Clams continues through May 20 (no show May 19) at the Rose Room (above the S4 bar, Cedar Springs Road at Throckmorton Street). Call 214-219-7218. (No one under 21 admitted.) The Better Doctor continues through May 20 at The Nest, 425 Bedford St. Go to upstarttheater.com for tickets. (All Thursday performances are pay-what-you-can.)

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It takes talent to speak a playwright's lines well enough to earn laughs from an audience. Getting those laughs without saying anything requires a different set of skills. The meaning in the arch of an eyebrow and the curl of a lip is easier to see on a big screen than in live theater, but Upstart's actors get the big and small moves so wrong they're committing comedy malpractice with The Better Doctor. The way they're doing this play, the silence is louder on the wrong side of the footlights.

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