Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gypsy Musical Comedy and Super-party

"Gypsy dance instruction begins at 7:45," promised the email flyer for Viva Patshiva, and we were determined not too miss it. So Jim and I wolfed down our dinner at Desi Deli on 10th Avenue and rushed up to the Interart Theatre Annex, where Rolling Rocks and several varieties of box wine were already being proffered, free with admission, in the waiting room.

"This is the first play I've been to where they try to get you drunk first," Jim said, starting his beer. Christine thought the Cabernet wasn't bad for box wine.

But what about those dance lessons? Yes, I was told, they usually have them but not tonight, maybe because there were so many of us, but that shouldn't stop us from joining in for the big dance number. We didn't really need to know the steps.

Rollicking and ribald, Viva Patshiva aims to be a "super-party" as well as a musical. With a lively, soulful score, a fine band and strong singers pouring their hearts into their performances, it largely succeeds.

Close to the stage in the rugged, intimate space, we felt almost like part of the Gypsy band.

Though the plot--involving a romance between a Gypsy dancer and a motivational speaker, whom the Gypsies are hoping will give them money to keep from being deported--seemed a tad unfinished, we accepted that as part of the show's home-grown charm.

Catch Viva Patshiva now if you can--it closes May 16. Sit in the front row if you'd like some extra attention from the cast, and do join in that big dance number.

If you've got the energy--we didn't--stay for the "Gypsy-style After-party with drinking and dancing into the wee hours." I'm guessing closing night will be a blow-out to remember.

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