One word comes to mind after seeing Woolly Mammoth Theatre’s latest offering, House of Gold…Yikes!
Written by Gregory S. Moss and directed by Sarah Benson, House of Gold is supposed to take a darkly comedic look at the JonBenét Ramsey case, bullying, media, shoddy police work and stage parents. However, if you didn’t know this play was supposed to have something to do with Ms. Ramsey, you would be entirely lost. From the opening lines of “I ate JonBenét” the audience is hurled into the stratosphere of the truly absurd, a journey from which it never returns. Enough said.
Now to the positives…the playbill, the set design, and most of all, the acting. The playbill is presented as a tabloid newspaper. It’s very imaginative and to some extent does a good job in letting you know what you are about to see on stage. Much of the play takes place in the kitchen and it is a white work of art. The views into the girl’s bedroom and the basement are very unique and do much to set the tone for House of Gold.
But the real positives are the actors. No matter how wretched the play might be, and make no mistake, House of Gold is wretched, Woolly’s acting company never lets it audience down. In fact, it’s the play that lets the actors down. Michael Russotto—a man with his acting pedigree should never have to wear a tutu unless it’s for something worthy of his talents– Emily Townley, Mitchell Hébert, Kaaron Briscoe, Randy Blair and Joseph M. Lonely, Jr. — all are exceptionally good. But to paraphrase Fantasy Island’s Tattoo—“the play…the play…good God, the play.”
Runs November 1 – 28, 2010
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
641 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004