Me the People: Fire and Fury Edition
Slings and arrows slung and shot at Donald Trump in the updated musical review.
Written by the sharp-witted Nancy Holson whose hilarious lyrics repurpose many well-known songs for her nefarious criticisms of our misbegotten president, the show is an update of an earlier version.
Music director James Higgins takes on the persona of a smooth lounge pianist at the Trump Hotel and Lounge in D.C. playing a snide Greek chorus. He keeps the show together with his faux insouciance and witty musicianship. He even evokes the “relatively innocent” days of Nixon who sings a twisted “My Way.”
The show is structured as a series of skits, short ones alternating with longer ones. A running joke is a Twitter Bird (a wonderful Vanessa Robinson), complete with bird head and feathered wings, who, to the tune of “Rockin’ Robin,” goes bonkers, constantly awakened at 3 A.M. by Trump’s maddening bathroom tweets.
Sigmund Freud (a delightfully agitated Ashley Leon) uses Patsy Kline’s hit “Crazy” to diagnose the president: “Malignant narcissism syndrome” and “Cuckoo, demented, imbalanced and psycho.”
Mar-a-Lago, the president’s Florida residence is excoriated with sharp, reworked lyrics to “Hotel California.” “The Sounds of Silence” takes on the high brick wall Trump and his cronies have built to avoid replying to criticism from the press and Maxine Waters (Aiesha Dukes wonderfully sardonic in a blonde wig) sings “Hit the Road, Jack,” thumbing her nose at her cowardly accusers.
The bulk of the 90-minute show is taken up with two skits. The first takes Ivanka (a scarily perfect Mia Weinberger) and Jared (Joe Marx, smartly catching his smarmy persona) on a whirlwind world tour where their wheeling and dealing obscenely inflates their bank accounts.
The other is a day-by-day account of Trump’s presidency, backed up by deft use of almost instantaneous set and costume changes. Though overlong, its heartbreaking revelations of one abuse of power after another stuns by their sheer volume.
After Lady Liberty (Ms. Robinson) assures us “I Will Survive,” the show ends with a sing-along of “This Land Is My Land,” sung surprisingly straight.
The quintet of actor/singers and pianist Higgins do tireless yeoman work in this non-stop tornado of complicated song lyrics and supersonic costume changes, never flagging in their zeal. Surely co-director David Rigano had a hand in keeping the show running so beautifully and getting the most out of the cast.
The comical, purposely half-baked wigs were designed by Katherine Pecevich and the seemingly makeshift, but just right costumes by Stephen Smith.
Me the People: Fire & Fury Edition is clearly not for everyone, but is totally at home in New York City. The production is also making itself available to pump up the anti-Trump sentiment.
Meanwhile, if nothing else, the show provides a terrific way to vent for both the cast and the audience.
Me the People: Fire & Fury Edition (Tuesdays through November 6, 2018)
Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 West 42nd Street, in Manhattan
For tickets, call 212-695-6909 or visit http://www.MethePeopleMusical.com
Running time: 90 minutes without an intermission
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