Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Talking Band's back!

The Talking Band just seems to keep getting better and better.  Each year, I end up saying their latest show may be their best yet--but, remembering Delicious Rivers (2006), The Walk Across America for Mother Earth (2011), and Marcellus Shale (2013), among others, I should qualify that as "one of their best."

Martin Luther King weekend through the first weekend in February seems to be one of the Talking Band's favorite times to bring us their latest.  This year, it's Burnished by Grief, which despite its name, is, as billed, a romantic comedy, albeit with some dark and scary passages amid the whimsy, romance, and slapstick.

Like last year's Golden Toad--the three-hour ambulatory wonder that the company gave us for their fortieth anniversary--it's a great show about New York City, deeply rooted in real life.  But in contrast to the Toad, Burnished by Grief whizzes by in 85 minutes, on a single set--a minimalist backyard garden overlooked by windows from adjacent buildings, and exercise bicycles within shouting distance of a street corner where a musician plays tuba.

It's inspired by playwright Ellen Maddow's experiences as a mediator in Brooklyn Civil Court, and as always in a Talking Band show, a few lovely, quirky songs and other music (also written by Maddow) add emotional resonance.

Though I try to see everything the Talking Band does, because of their limited seasons in New York, I sometimes miss a show.  I'm so glad I didn't miss this one.

Burnished by Grief is playing at LaMama, 74 East 4th Street, through February 7. 

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