The Bald Soprano

Review by Willard Manus

Ionesco's one-act play THE BALD SOPRANO is fifty years old and consequently has lost its ability to shock, but it still comes off as quite funny in its revival at City Garage in Santa Monica. Director Frederique Michel (working from a translation by Donald M. Allen) has set the play in Paris, where a petit bourgeois couple, the Smiths (Bo Roberts and David E. Frank, in drag), prattle on mindlessly and disconnectedly about shopping, food and a family whose every member is named Bobby Watson. Things become even more absurd when they are visited by another couple, the Martins (Cynthia Mance and Troy Dunn), who talk even more gibberish, joined later by a fire chief (Maximiliano Molina) and Marie, the maid (Alisha Nichols).

Ionesco's savage assault on the banality and meaninglessness of life and language is deftly choreographed by Michel, until the climactic moments when she turns the actors loose, allowing them to explode into an orgy of slapstick and non sequiturs. City Garage, 1340 1/2 Fourth St (alley). 310-319-9939.