Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Receipt - May 9, 2007

After my first evening of the Brits Off-Broadway Festival, Memory, I think I showed tremendous optimism attending another of the festival's offerings. Lesson learned: Optimism pays off!

The Receipt could well be described as a humorous look at modern man's existential angst. It could also be described as a damned good time. Let's leave the former description to the NY Times to explore and stick with the damned good time.

What appears to be a rather unimpressive set turns into an amazing reproduction of a city, filing cabinets become everything from household appliances (yes, the washing machine is trying to escape), to office buildings, to trains and anything else you might need to tell a story of a man who has had enough of being locked in a cage. "Too many humans riding low trains to go work in high buildings" and for what? For "work" no one can even describe. Welcome to the Habitrail.
photo credit: Greg Piggot

This brilliant two hander is performed with grace, humor and charm by Will Adamsdale and Chris Branch who offer us pathos and a look into what our lives have become and how we might appear to future generations all wrapped up in a show that made me laugh (perhaps too loudly at times) on many occasions and kept me smiling throughout.

At one point Will Adamsdale mimes a woman ("T") taking a shower with such perfection I felt like a Peeping Tom and his character Wiley's descent into an apparent nervous breakdown as he attempts to locate the owner of a mysteriously encoded receipt he found on the street (for 1 250ml gls chndy) is both disturbing and immensely funny.

Chris Branch's sound effects and dry characterizations ranging from Wiley's boss to the "Here Not Here" man who answers intercoms for empty buildings "so you can speak to a live person" were hilarious as each of them causes Wiley never ending frustration in his simple attempt to do his "work".

Of course there is a deeper message here, the disconnect between people, the lack of understanding of why we do the things we do, our absence of self-awareness, the habit of our daily lives; but it is slipped to us with such style and humor that you almost don't realize you're being given a very important lesson.

Go, get tickets. Now!

p.s. when they ask questions: answer - it will make them happy.

The Receipt

59E59 Theaters
59 East 59th St.
New York, NY 10022
Tickets: 212-279-4200
running time: 80 mins no intermission
Runs through May 27

1 comment:

Statler said...

I managed to catch "The Receipt" at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006 and found it every bit as entertaining as you obviously did. It's nice to see a review not overly analysing any deeper message the play may have and taking the time to appreciate it for the hugely fun piece it is.

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