Minus any hesitation I want to say that director Glenn Meche’s amazing production of Paul Rudnick’s “epic comedy” Valhalla is the best play I’ve ever seen at the humble Theatre Marigny.
The theatre just had a mega hit, as far as box office was concerned, with NAKED BOYS SINGING. Although a smooth production it is not a show I’d wish to see again. Because of Paul Rudnick’s masterful structure of VALHALLA, I could (and I want to) see VALHALLA again. It is unlike any current comedy - a comedy which also touches you. Because Rudnick has much to say about love and life he has two separate tales progressing simultaneously. Often the modern characters interact with the historic personnel in a unique style keeping the play bouncing along. It really is a masterful job. Rudnick’s dialogue is fast and constantly funny filled with bon mots worth repeating. I was very impressed by this off-Broadway semi-hit, which actually deserves a much better reputation.
Director Glenn Meche has guided it all with remarkable fluidity now assuring himself as my favorite director in town - stiff competition. He has cast 6 super-talented actors portraying 25 different characters changing their theatrical attitudes and costumes in rapid speed. As mad king Ludwig, Shannon Williams continues to impress, Keith Launey is the boy from Texas in love with Chris Weaver, who weds the prettiest girl in town. Later the romantic trio produce a baby. Cammie West is the Queen Mother bent on her nutty son becoming king, while Carlos Gonzalez is her major domo handling the maddening Ludwig with curiosity. Pretty Liz Mills is a standout (among so many standouts) as the Texas beauty and the hump back beauty to the King. This is the best acting ensemble in the city right now.
By time Wagner’s themes from TANNHAUSER were heard you could have picked me up with a shovel. Naturally the opening nighters gave this stunning production a solid standing ovation with shouts of BRAVO BRAVO filling the comfortable Marigny Theatre. VALHALLA is an adult, thinking-man’s play one you must pay attention to, with some male nudity. Paul Rudnick’s witty dialogue and Producer Donald James’ glamorous costumes are enough to excite you.
If you enjoy fast, funny, hilarious live stage plays with a masterful director and six superb actors - don’t miss VALHALLA now at The Marigny Theatre on St. Claude one block from Elysian Fields. BRAVO! BRAVO! Top Rating - 4