Aphrodite's Dungeon II

by Judy Klass
Directed by Troy Acree
The Looking Glass Theatre

Reviewed by Marshall Yaeger

Last month, the prequel to this second installment of what purports to be an ongoing series, was highly praised by OOBR's Sarah Stevenson. (A terrifically funny scene entertained last month's Awards Show.) Alas, the current edition lacks the brilliance, sharpness, and comedic pacing that made its predecessor so impressive.

The director worked hard to keep things moving, which they did, though sometimes aimlessly. One nice touch was a contest (for golden apples, available at cost from King Midas) cleverly off-staged behind a row of actors' backs.

Ms. Venus (Sheila Morgan, playing a tattooed Wonder-Woman in hostess-heat who takes no prisoners) explains that Cosmic Network canceled the previous Oprah-incarnation in favor of this new and improved late-night Carson talk-alike.

Then, in a series of weak and often inconclusive sketches, the main plot works out whether Aphrodite can snatch Adonis (Ian McGrady) away from Persephone (Paula LaBaredas).

She can't. Meanwhile, Pygmalion (Nathan Eckenrode) grows accustomed to his Galatean harridan's face; Jehovah (Ethan Kent) can't get the ATM machine to work; Perseus (Anthony Rand) slays a cleverly put-together sea serpent; and Socrates (Tony Scarpa), in a two-second "Apology," says he's sorry.


The writing is often at a juvenile level ("So, Jason, what's up with you and the Argonauts?") tossing in such awful puns as "Euripides pants, you pay for dese pants." And did you know that "Spiro Agnew" is an acrostic for "Grow a Penis"?


Linda Pia Ignazi as a terrible stand-up comic ("I'm making ancient history come alive for these people!") was wonderful to watch as her act wilted and died on stage.

Deana Howes was excellent as Pygmalion's frozen statue -- until she came to life as a silly Liza Doolittle.

Reginald James played a horn-rimmed, African-American sitcom geek, belying his glistening built-up body.

Nicole Weitz made a good Olympian Valley Girl, and "Duff of Troy" just did his thing on the bass guitar. Alison Pazz should lighten up the pizzazz.

Finally, "Carie" and "Tod," two volunteers pulled on stage from the audience to quiz the Oracle of Delphi about personal problems, held their own in the entertainment category.

The costumes by Erica Nilson were pretty good; especially Aphrodite's see-through, sexy, stylish S&M number, with a necklace bauble that looked like clotted blood.

For some inexplicable reason, all 19 people involved in this version (save one) were different. So many changes posed a question more relevant than the riddle of the Sphinx (which got trotted out at one point): Why did they do it? And when do they announce the replacement?

Reviewed on July 19, 1997

Copyright 1999 Marshall Yaeger

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