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Drama Dock’s 'Revenge of the Dinosaur Lady' is a winner | Review
Drama Dock successfully pulls off “Revenge of the Dinosaur Lady,” the United States premiere of the play, with ease and expertise, thanks to a cast and crew of talented Islanders.
Here’s the setup: Evelyn Buckles Brown — a divorced, middle-aged would-be writer of a trashy romance novel — has her newly repainted red Queens, New York, interior invaded by her ex, Christopher, an actor in trashy movies.
It happens late one night after Chris has been kicked out by his lover Bunny.
He wants to be taken care of, but Evelyn’s kind of a nut case who seems to like being taken advantage of.
And so of course Christopher moves back in.
Their teenage daughter Libby, who works at a bar and lives at home, follows in her mother’s footsteps and falls for Tony, an actor her age who hires out as a clown and always stays in costume (including roller skates!).
Two other characters round out the cast: Cosmo Grimaldi, who appears in fantasy scenes torn from the pages of Evelyn’s novel, fighting Chris for Evelyn’s hand; and Bipper, Bunny’s little dog who sits quietly in a sling unaffected by the mayhem of the Brown household.
The play, especially in the fantasy scenes, mocks the bodice-ripper conventions of the romance novel.
The set and the acting are all terrific.
The decision to dominate the downstairs kitchen-living room space with a great red wall that bears the steps up to the second floor where everyone sleeps is excellent.
However, it’s what’s happening in the bedrooms that’s at the heart of the characters’ problems.
They’re all emotional teenagers — except for Libby, a real teenager who actually has a head on her shoulders.
Antonia Greene is wonderful as Evelyn: She does over-the-top as well as wry with real conviction.
Christopher Ott, as Chris, matches her outbursts with understated, cool aggression and appropriately preening narcissism.
Meme Garcia’s Libby is humorously wise beyond her years, and she gets to sing, with great energy and skill, the old Judy Garland standard “C’mon Get Happy” in the show’s only (and surprising) outburst of music.
As Libby’s boyfriend Tony, Kenese Parker is a master of the “double-take,” which he does in a number of situations, as his character struggles to master his over-the-top feelings for Libby, brought on, apparently, by reading a manuscript of Evelyn’s novel.
Cosmos Grimaldi, the forthright savior and protector of women from Evelyn’s romance novel, appears in the fantasy scenes at David Hackett’s skillful beck and call, especially when the moment calls for unabashed (but knowing) derring-do, both verbal and physical (he and Chris duel with swords).
Jill Bulow has a brief and hilarious cameo to demonstrate that Chris can be outdone in narcissism. It’s over-the-topness done to a fine turn.
And of course there’s canine Bipper Mason, playing Bipper with more insouciance than you could ask for from a dog.
Making all this happen so well is Elizabeth Ripley, daughter of the playwright Mary Humphrey Baldridge of Canada and New York.
— Eric Horsting is The Beachcomber’s former arts editor.
Tickets and times
“The Revenge of the Dinosaur Lady” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 22 to 24. There will also be matinee performances at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 24, and 4 p.m. Sunday, April 25. Tickets, $10 and $15, are on sale at Vashon Bookshop, Books by the Way, at the door and at www.brownpapertickets.com.