I enjoy going to see off-Broadway productions. The intimacy felt during a small theatre company’s performance is unparalleled. You become part of the show; this time was no different.
I left my apartment in Queens, hopped on the subway towards Manhattan, and upon walking into the East 4th Street Theatre (located on East 4th St. btwn Bowery & 2nd Ave) I was transported to 1918 Georgia at the beginning of the Spanish Flu outbreak courtesy of the Flying Carpet Theatre Company. I say transported because at the door to the 60 seat venue was a cast member, Dr. Claudia Hill (Susan Louise O’Connor), handing out surgical masks and directing everyone to wear it during the show to prevent the spread of the flu.
The Medicine Showdown, which was inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s classic “Enemy of the People,” takes you on the same sort of ride. A doctor in a small town must convince the authorities to act on behalf of the people’s health while risking the town’s economic health.
Unlike the play it was inspired by, The Medicine Showdown is fun! There is music; there is singing — opening number is Camptown Races – and there is dancing. Tap dancing the likes of which I haven’t seen performed live in quite some time. This treat comes courtesy of Legs Benedict (seriously, is that not the perfect moniker for a dancer?!) played by the show’s choreographer, Khalid Hill. You have the comedic musings of Tiny Two Bits (John Wright); the mysticism of Chief Tuk Tuk (Timothy Reynolds) and the eloquently neologistical ways of Dr. Arthur Eggerton (Jay Roderick).
Bottom line: A must see. Also, when you hear the good Dr. Eggerton go on and on…you’ll pick up what I put down.
WHERE: East 4th Street Theatre83 East 4th Street New York, NY WHEN: Runs through October 27th, 2013 TICKETS: $20, may be purchased here
Contributed by Orlando Manuel