"Laughing Wild" Review

Lagniappe Entertainment Listings

Friday May 18, 01
by David Cuthbert, New Orleans Times-Picayune

In Christopher Durang's "Laughing Wild," we meet two wildly neurotic New Yorkers whose paths, dreams and lives intersect as they're "laughing wild amid severest woe" (Samuel Beckett in "Happy Days," quoting Thomas Gray).

The Woman, played with flippant intensity by Amy Woodruff (think Kathy Randels lite) hates people who block the supermarket tuna fish aisle, taxi drivers, Sally Jesse Raphael, the Pope, and anyone inclined to be happy. "My favorite book is ‘Bleak House,' " she says, amending, "not the book, just the title."

Daniel LaForce engagingly plays The Man, who's trying to purge himself of negative feelings, though it seems not to be working. He has particular problems with God and why He chose to visit a terrible disease like AIDS on homosexuals, hemophiliacs and heroin users, "apparently waiting until 1978 to do this, even though homosexual acts have been going on for considerably longer than that, at least since 1956."

This very Durangesque ground is covered in separate act-monologues, converging in a third act meeting that sets off comic sparks (especially when the Man metamorphoses into the Infant of Prague) and allows its characters to come to terms with themselves and each other.

This is a production of Theatre Louisiane, a young group of capable artisans that does well even by lesser Durang (which this is). Performance and presentation are first-rate, despite the rudimentary venue of the Pickery.

One should be aware that the Pickery is a non-air-conditioned warehouse space and was warm enough last weekend that the theater should provide hand fans.