In a tradition that probably started with showing off around a fire in a cave and continued through commedia dell’arte, Wild Porcelain isn’t so much a story as a showcase for inventive performances. The mock-stern Munoz and the giddy or panicked Haddad spin through frenetic, rib-tickling vaudeville turns. Sumelius, as unfettered as a pink elephant at a tea party, beaming through Tammy Faye Baker makeup, cavorts like the love child of Robin Williams and Bette Midler. Wonderful.
The uncredited music design is entrancing, providing a serious foundation for the frivolity, from Edith Piaf and Meredith Monk to haunting original compositions. The background design of fantasy mountainscape is by Erminio Pinque, of Big Nazo, and the masks are by Sumelius. Costumes design is by Nina Silfverberg and lighting design by Timothy Cryan. Collaborating on the production was playwright Sam Marks.
Director Buescher is director of movement and physical theater at the Brown/ Trinity Rep Consortium, so showing rather than telling is natural for him. He has choreographed for Trinity Rep, Providence Black Repertory Company, and Long Wharf Theatre.
Once again Workhorse has been ridden hard and put away wet. Hopefully, with any luck, next year they will work themselves into a lather once again and we’ll benefit from another oddball, theatrically delightful production.
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