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The Kitchen

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Flash Review 2, 5-9: Post Delivers
Special Parcels of Characters on View at New Vic

By Sandra Aberkalns
Copyright 2001 Sandra Aberkalns

Are you a fan of any of the following: Peter Sellers, Steve Martin, Julia Child, Les Ballets Trocadero, Dame Edna, Dick Van Dyke, "Leave it to Beaver," Marcel Marceau, Steve Allen, Lucille Ball, or Robin Williams? If you said yes to two or more names in this list then I predict that you will have a fun evening in the company of Robert Post in his one-man-show "The Post Man Delivers," at the New Victory Theater.

My intellect told me that this concert was to be a series of seven well-constructed skits in a vaudeville style show. However, as soon as the curtain went up my intuition told me that I was about to follow the White Rabbit, complete with waistcoat-pocket and watch, straight down the rabbit hole, and like Alice find myself in a world that was just a little bit wacky. Post's comedic timing, both verbal and physical, is top-notch. He isn't a dancer, but he moves with a grace that belies all the training that goes into making movement seem so pedestrian. There aren't any extravagant sets in this program but there are plenty of fun props, masks and characters. Between skits the audience is amused by the recorded music of the four-piece "mouth band" Throat Culture (A Cappella Quartet).

While I enjoyed the entire evening I must admit that there were three stories that really tickled my fancy. The first was "Ballet 101." It begins with the ballet master entering the studio ready to begin class. As the dancers (who are imaginary) take their places, he tells them to, "tuck it in, this isn't a rodeo." Post then lowers himself onto his hands and knees with the top of his head towards the audience, and we see for the first time the face of his star pupil, Marcia. Post's arms serve as Marcia's legs, and she can do the most amazing things! When the ballet master tells the dancers to turn out in first position, Marcia rotates and rotates and rotates until her toes are pointing backwards! Another good joke is when the ballet master tells the dancers to roll down through the foot (going from being on pointe to flat). Marcia has such an incredible foot that she ends up rolling down the wrong way and finishes on the top of her arch. She also has the incredible ability to go up into the air and not come back down! When she has been rooting around in the rosin box for too long he says to her, "Marcia, that's a rosin box, not a litter box." This vignette is hysterically funny, sad, and poignant all at the same time. Is there anyone out there that doesn't know someone like Marcia?

While the press release described "Beyond the Wall (a Mystery)" as an Agatha Christie-style thriller, what came to my mind were the Pink Panther films. A black screen is used as a prop, and as a place to store the various hats and wigs used to identify the eight different characters.

The story begins with the legendary inspector, Wesley Bloom, arriving at the manse. The Inspector knocks on the door, steps into the house (i.e. behind the screen) and when he comes out on the other side he's the butler! As the story progresses we are introduced to a French mademoiselle, the corpse, Lady McNaughton (wife of the deceased), and others. Post switches so quickly between the different characters that you wonder how it is possible. One moment you see Lady McNaughton, the next her dead husband clutching his poor heart, and before you know it the Lady is back with martini in hand. One of the images that I'll remember for quite a while is when, I believe it was Lady McNaughton, goes to take a bath (Post turns the screen on its side so you only see her from the waist up). A shark suddenly appears in the tub with her and begins circling around and around and you know that she is doomed. When the shark has completed the dastardly deed you see the poor woman momentarily floating on her side before sinking to the bottom of the tub. The story really picks up speed when Post becomes two characters at the same time (one character is almost in full view, but a hand or foot peeking out from behind the screen belongs to another character). Who among this motley gang is the fiend? Does Inspector Wesley Bloom succeed in bringing the killer to justice? I'm not going to tell.

The third treat was a parody of celebrity TV chefs, "Pasquale's Kitchen." Need I say more? A flick of the chef's hat and Julia Child would be standing there, or Emeril "Bam" Lagasse, or a knife-wielding samurai straight out of a Benihana restaurant. Scenes changed briskly from the chef trying to persuade a fish to go willingly into the skillet, to the Aussie chef eating live worms, to the Russian baker churning butter right inside the cow, among others. However, it was the last trick, involving a plate, that was absolutely magical and a wonderful image with which to end the evening.

Burglar Burt, a day in the life of an accountant, the cycle of life, and a father spending some quality time with his son are the other stories that round out the evening.

You won't see this kind of show anytime soon on your TV, so learn how to program those VCRs and catch this concert live while you still have the chance. "The Post Man Delivers" continues this Friday through Sunday. For more information, please visit the New Victory website.

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