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May 29, 1981 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1981-05-29

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The Michigan Daily Friday, May 29. 1981 Page 5
'Bedroom Farce'-British fluff
By KEN FELDMAN couples of rather diverse temper- detracting, but they nevertheless a change of pace from the usual flick
Bedroom Farce is a fast paced ment who engage in the confusing leave much of the comic potential - live theatre, in any farm, still has
comedy that is often amusing and endeavor of trying to reunite a four- unrealized. The notable exceptions And, despite some relatively short
always cute. But although Britisher th couple. Unfortunately for all in- are Beverly J. Pooley and, to a lags (mastly in the first half I did
Alan Ayckbourn has done a fine job volved, this fourth couple (Trevor lesser extent, Nancy Heusel as laughaodidefsMalf),ms id
with the script, the actors and ac- and Susannah) combine the self- Trevor's quaint parents Ernest and Roselle)od deal. Mattempts at fur-
tresses of the Ann Arbor .ivic confidence of Franz Kafka with the Delia. Pooley has obviously had Rosee octrn atteptsat fu-
niture construction and Ernest and,
Theatre are often unable to meet its intelligence of the average tree more acting experience than many Delia's confrontations with the
challenge. - stump. All manner of frustrations of the others, and it shows in his hysterically insecure Susannah
It's not that the evening isn't funny occur as the two progress from poise and confidence onstage. More t
it's just that the humor gets enemies to lovebirds. important, he has the sense of were the big yucks, and most scenes
through to the audience in spite of, timing and grace that induces un- er oomearcentw
not because of, the acting. Much of Equally unfortunate is the acting forced laughter. Comedy requires char, and tFarevening is amusin
the fun of Bedroom Farce consists of of Laurie Atwood and C. Taylor control, and Pooley and Heusel
slapstick, physical humor thatrelies Nichols as this blundering couple. ;display it where the others tend enough, even if it just suffered a bit
on the actors' talents more than on Atwood specializes in overacting toward ham. light fun like a silly television sit-
the quality of the material; con- that leaves her character un-
sequently, there are several dull believable and always annoying. IT'S ALWAYS worth mentioning com with the advantage of being
spots in the show. Nichols is similarly unsubtle, and however, that this is just civic British. For summer entertainment,
his attempts at a British accent are theatre, a local talent display that no with the price of professional theatre
THE ACTION takes place in three (charity, Feldman!) inadequate: one expects to be of professional so high, I guess you could do a lot
bedrooms, and concerns three The other performances are less caliber. After all, it's cheap, and it's worse.

Up and down in 'Funland'

Bram Tchaikovsky - 'Funland'
(Arista) If Bram Tchaikovsky had
simply made up his mind who was
going to produce Funland, he might
have had a magnificent album - or a
quite ordinary one. As it is, it is only
half of a marvel, sort of like the Mona
Lisa from the neck down.
The other half is typical Tchaikovsky
theatrics, but even these reveal his
vulnerable underbelly, and the ad-
mission is worth the price.
TCHAIKOVSKY co-produced the
album with Nick Garvey, and it sounds
as if each took one side and made a
wish. Whoever took the first side won,
but the difference between the sides is
still great enough to make the album
seem like a perverse musical game of
That first side is a masterful exten-
sion of the patented Phil Spector sound.
It is so pervasively emphatic that it
gives the music a singular sort of
authenticity, an aliveness gained by
sucking the listener into a vortex of
The effect is kinda like aural 3-D. The
loudest, and seemingly nearest, sound
is the barest framework of the songs -
i.e., the raw and spacious blasts of the
guitars. Mixed just behind this is the
steady thump-thump of the rhythm sec-
tion, while Tchaikovsky's vocals form a
powerful center, distanced enough to
seem like a voice from the grave.
IF THAT'S what it is, then it's an ac-
cusing voice, for the songs harp con-
stantly on a theme of meeting (and not
meeting) responsibilities. Tchaikovsky
perpetually confronts his characters
with the responsibilities of the roles they
assume, and berates their inconsisten-
cy when they won't face up to them. It
isn't -honest to bring distress upon
oneself and then complain about it, nor
is it to take one step forward and refuse
to take the next one.
That's why Tchaikovsky honestly
asserts in "Stand and Deliver" that "I
don't know if I'll make it back/Or ride
until I fade away." Either way beats

nothing: "Stand and deliver, but don't
throw the night away."
Most of the confrontation predictably
goes on in the demilitarized zone of love
- Tchaikovsky's guitar ticks like a
time bomb in "Model Girl," a de-
mythification epic with a disturbing
equation ("Another woman/Another
throw of the dice"). The meeker second
side finds the same theme repeated in
the glorious rewards of "Soul Surren-
der" and the pathological frailty of
"Together My Love."
BUT THE accusations begin to blur
on the second side, at the same time
that whoever is producing starts
cleaning up the act. "Why Does My
Mother Phone Me?" is a metallic indic-
tment of failed motherhood, linking
boyhood frustration in the childlike
chanting of "Why does my mother
phone me/Just to tell me that she
doesn't like me?" with the inevitable
confused result: "Why when I run
away/Do they send the police to get
It's abrilliant song, the finest on ther
album, but already the new producer is
taking control of the side. As the song
opens, the afore-mentioned theatrics
begin, with phones ringing and sirens
blaring, while the sound acquires a
cleanliness that sharply contrasts with
the first side. Gone is the raw fullness of
the blasts; in fact, gone are the blasts.
4 This tamer approach creates a sound
that is functional and little else, an
amorphous style that doesn't dare the
risks of the other side. Tchaikovsky still
sings like he's being garrotted (that's
incurable), but everything else has
been safely muted and shunted to the
THE ACCUSATIONS go on, but they
are hollower and sometimes confused;
"Used to Be My Used to Be" finds
Tchaikovsky chiding, "You were out of
your mind/I was out of your sight," but
it isn't clear whether he's still resenting
the irresponsibility of his mother or the
jealousy of a lover.
"Miracle Cure" is an emaciated

hoedown that probably wouldn't have
worked no matter who produced it,
while the album-ending "Egyptian
Mummies" finds Tchaikovsky violatng
his own tenets and shifting the blame
for his failed affair.
It has its shortcomings, but Funland
also has a wealth of fine moments - a
leading guitar riff that explores the
sound spectrum in "Heart of Stone," a
dreamy, distant synthesizer solo in
"Shall We Dance?," the anthemic
chorus of "Stand and Deliver," and
Tchaikovsky's blithe assertion that "I'd
like you not to come 'round again" in
"Egyptian Mummies."
And there are no more of those
emasculating women, those nutcracker
sweets that have been known'to haunt
his work. He may never re-reach the
heights he scaled with The Motors, but
Funland is a step up from last year's
Pressure, and as such is worth the trip.
-Fred Schill
Begin your.day

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