The Lion, the Witch, and the War Hero: Or Is McCain Able?
at the Brave New Workshop through November 8
Next January, when Dubya decamps for Crawford to await his validation via the judgment of history (in Bizarro world), his successor will take his place. The prospect seems to have positively lit a fire under the cast of this six-person show, which treats this election season as the circus it will inevitably become, while also underscoring the deadly seriousness beneath it all. It reveals the throbbing heart of a political junkie in a long musical recap of the primary season, from the most obscure candidates in the early days to the agonizing Obama/Hillary semi-stalemate that dragged into the summer. No less engaged is Ellie Hino's jaunty rag about the collapse of the subprime mortgage bubble (observing that the Fed's stepping in to keep interest rates low while throwing cash at the problem was "like curing syphilis with AIDS"). Mike Fotis then steps in to deliver a fabulist's take on "Teddy Fucking Roosevelt," who apparently was so awash in testosterone that he clubbed bears to death on the White House lawn (or, in this case, Josh Eakright wearing furry ears). After the intermission there's a nice "BNN" sequence that allows the insertion of topical material than can twist and change during the show's run (last Saturday featured a very funny taped segment in which American Olympic announcers offered negative commentary about China, only to be censored by a badly recorded voice that talked over every critical utterance). Eakright is running out of time to score points with his very credible Dubya impersonation, although, by the end, Fotis resurrects Jesse Ventura in crazy shades, boa, and street-preacher baritone. While not everything works (a pair of dueling acoustic guitar tunes about Obama and McCain, sung by Eakright and Bobby Gardner, play on obvious gags), there's a palpable sense of excitement here, and with the show running right up to the election, there's also ample opportunity for the cast and director Caleb McEwen to roll with the news (the vice-presidential candidates, presumably, will provide new grist, not to mention the inevitable clowning media coverage). This one has bite, in other words, and might well be poised to bite harder.