nytheatre.com review by Chris Harcum
October 21, 2007
Anne Goldmann stars as Svetlana Flamingo in Savage Amusements at The Brick, part of their second annual Clown Theatre Festival. One part interactive street theatre, one part gymnastics demo, and a gazillion parts funny, this 60-minute solo extravaganza about a multi-talented Transylvanian mail-ordered bride abandoned in a Florida trailer park earns its green card.
The playing area is decorated with a clothes line draped in animal-printed potential, a central Astroturf rectangle, four pink flamingoes (named Igor, Boris, Mikhail, and Ken), a mini grill, a trash can barrel, and five tiny Holstein cow statues later used for "moo" lighting. Svetlana enters, looking like Ziggy Stardust's daughter, gyrating, whoo-ing, and passing out candy. She immediately displays her ability to fire off triple meta asides as though they were scripted. Throughout the rest of the performance she keeps up this fine jazz-like riffing on the scripted material, making references and recalls about members of the audience, much to everyone's amusement. Her crowd work, which is playfully sexual and mostly self-effacing, is some of the finest I have ever seen.
We are welcomed to her trailer park, the Punta Villa RV Village, while she does some eccentric dancing. An inflated and supposedly dangerous alligator is passed from the comically unenthusiastic Stage Manager over the heads of the audience. Svetlana wrestles, tickles, humps, scratches, and tames the beast showing her bravado and the deplorable conditions she must escape. We are taken back to Transylvania where she meets Mark Walters in a catalogue from Don't Be Alone Services. Mark is represented here by a Ken doll and he brings her to America. He then abandons her for five years. "That's one year for every finger on this hand," explains a distressed Svetlana. It seems justified that she rips the Ken doll apart and stuffs him under the lid of the mini grill.
Back in the present, Svetlana expresses her desire to become a B-movie star. Her plan is to wow them with her "Gymnastic Genie" routines. We are then surprised, astounded, and surprisingly astounded by her humorously inventive and athletically impressive arsenal of flexible showmanship. We get The Resurrected Bug, What a Girl Will Do for a Buck, The Upside-Down Flamingo, and many others. In simple terms, they are what happen when you put a Cirque du Soleil gymnast and clown in the same body. The eleven o' clock song of this section, Slave Princess of the Jungle, involves three game males from the audience. Her mastery in this speaks volumes about her experience from years of working with audiences. It is also hilarious.
The overall delightful effect of Savage Amusements is like watching your niece put on funny show in your backyard, except your niece happens to be a hot clown gymnast woman and you aren't related.