Mechanically Separated Meat
nytheatre.com review by Danny Bowes
February 24, 2010
As befits a company calling themselves the International Brain Transplant Committee, Mechanically Separated Meat (part of the FRIGID New York Festival) is a half hour of good-natured silliness. The story of a toaster who suddenly begins speaking to its owner—called only The Man—because he (the toaster) needs a lift to go get a photo ID, Mechanically Separated Meat soon involves everyone from The Man's girlfriend to a chinchilla-doting corporate drone to a mail carrier who is also carrying a male to a woman dragging her house around on a ten-foot length of rope.
The (brave, little?) toaster has more on its mind than merely acquiring a photo ID; he discourses at length about the nature of ownership, and even paraphrases Frederick Douglass in a parallel between appliance rights and civil rights. And just what is in that little black box the toaster doesn't want anyone to open . . .?
Writers Jeff Belanger and Amanda Sage Comerford (who also appears as the girlfriend) do not worry about being silly, which is to their credit, especially given the premise; not much happens, other than the toaster talking and displaying a good deal more common sense than the human characters. The set (also by the writers), dressed with various appliances and boxes, stokes The Man's paranoia that the talking appliances will band together and rise against their human oppressors.
The cast seems to be having fun, and energetically portray their quirky characters, and the quartet of credited directors keep the pace moving at such a brisk rate that the show is five minutes shorter than its advertised running time, and never flags.
Mechanically Separated Meat is an amiably cracked good time that is certainly worth the $7 ticket price, and definitely worth catching if you find yourself in the vicinity of The Red Room in the mood to see theatre that has a refreshing absence of self-seriousness.