Oscar E Moore

From the rear mezzanine theatre, movies and moore

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April 29th, 2024 by Oscar E Moore

Feeling blue?  Down in the dumps?  Have your tickle bones not been tickled lately?  The extremely talented and wonderfully funny Cole Escola as Mary Todd Lincoln and company might just be the tonic you need.

If ribald humor, zany shenanigans going on in the Presidential household of a praying not to be a homosexual Abe Lincoln (a fine Conrad Ricamora) along with his mad cap frustrated spouse Mary (ex-cabaret star) searching for and sniffing and finding a hidden bottle or two while frantically longing to return to the stage then “Oh Mary!” Escola’s opus could be for you.  And then again…perhaps not.

Extremely loud, pre curtain-up at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, pre-recorded pulsating music harkens one back to those dreary basement gay clubs in New Jersey or the West Village where would be stars would get up and sing their hearts out for one and all.  I had my ears covered in retaliation.

Finally the fun began.

In the grand tradition of Charles Ludlam’s Theater of the Ridiculous Cole Escola shines in the spotlight.  He is a gifted comic and has a way with words.  He just doesn’t know when enough is enough.

There are many laugh out loud moments in the various scenes that remind one of those wonderful Carol Burnett skits.  Here we have skit after skit usually ending quickly in a blackout.  Escola has a delightful audition piece as the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet.

Some of the best moments are with Mary’s Teacher John Booth (James Scully – handsome and quite likable who “rehearses” with Mary to get her in shape for her comeback as a cabaret star and I suppose you guess where this is heading.  And then again you might not.

A gentleman seating next to me nodded off for a short while.  Ummm.

Mary has a chaperone (a fine Bianca Leigh who I thank in a thankless role) to keep her at bay and to report any misbehavior back to Abe.

Tony Macht is Mary’s Husband Assistant – faithful and obedient and taking part in one of the funniest sight gags with old Abe.

But after the assassination trouble brews.  And we are back in cabaret land.  Which does go on and on till the end of said play which is swiftly directed by Sam Pinkleton.  Lovely period costumes by Holly Pierson. Ditto scenic design by DOTS.

But it is COLE ESCOLA’S show all the way.  After all he wrote it.

www.ohmaryplay.com  80 minutes no intermission

Photo:  Emilio Madrid

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