Sunday, July 8, 2012
SF Mime Troupe's "For The Greater Good" ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG
The new SF Mime Troupe production "For the Greater Good" got a less-than-sterling review from the local pundits but this reviewer thinks it's the funniest and best-acted show they've done in years. For one thing, Ed Holmes is back, playing Gideon Bloodgood, an investment banker who will stop at nothing to keep from being incarcerated for his crimes. No one ever did Dick Cheney like Ed Holmes, and when, in real life, Cheney finally seeped back under the rocks from whence he sprang, he took away the Mime Troupe's most appealing character. Then came the financial meltdown and now an upcoming election. Gideon Bloodgood is fictional, but when he buys his daughter a congressional seat we get to howl out our derision.
This is what the Mime Troupe does best: evil scumsuckers.
Let's also include cheers for Lisa Hori-Garcia as Bloodgood's wealthy daughter Alida ("just call me Tanya") who aspires to be a revolutionary, and for the terrific Reggie D. White as Damian Landless, who dresses like the devil as he slinks magnificently across the stage, but is also the head of the last Occupy Wall Street encampment. White is a newcomer to the cast and we hope he sticks around.
But it must also be said that although Landless is the show's slickest character, he is also its most confusing. We have no idea whether he's a good guy or a bad guy. We understand that writer and director Michael Gene Sullivan must be getting tired of writing good good guys and bad bad guys, so it is tempting to try and make us --gasp -- think. But when we're outside in the park, in the sun, surrounded by tie-dyes and frisbees, we really don't want to think too hard. If there is a fault to "For the Greater Good," it's that we all seem to be complicit in -- something or other.
As for the production itself, we love the way the encampment catches fire. The opening number "Even Better Than Alright," sung by the full cast," "What We Deserve," sung by Victor Toman and Lisa Hori-Garcia, and "Place for You Here," sung by the full cast, are excellent. Composer/Lyricist Pat Moran has to fit in a lot of words and some of the singers can handle them better than others. This year's songs are as good as any in the recent past and the band, as always, is perfect.
RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "For the Greater Good" Three Stars
with a BANGLE OF PRAISE. It's very good fun with moments that take the show to the level of the best Mime Troupe shows. We love Mr. and Mrs. Puffy.
NOTE TO SFMT: We Press Types love photos. We know they cost money, but it wouldn't hurt to have a photo of Damian Landless in his devil uniform and of Tanya in her stylish camo. If you should ever add these photos to your site, we will post them immediately. Just sayin'...
San Francisco Mime Troupe's "For the Greater Good"
Various venues throughout the Bay Area
See sfmt.org for schedule
All summer long until September 9, 2012
Free (but why don't you buy a t-shirt?)