Cowboy Mouth at the Fringe: Cow Flop

The book-strewn set of Cowboy Mouth. Photo by Christopher Arnott

Hey, Slim (Justin O’Neill): if you want to nail this proto-punk mad-love classic by Sam Shepard and Patti Smith, don’t look down at your hands while you’re playing guitar. Take more lessons before you attempt to portray a rarified rocker. And learn to pronounce “Grammercy” like a New Yorker; it’s not “Grah-MERCY.”

Oh, Cavale (Claire Kaplan)!: When you jump into Slim’s arms and wrap your legs around his waist, it doesn’t look like you’re in the throes of lust or lunacy. It looks like you’re trying to pull off a carefully rehearsed circus trick.

Let’s not forget you, Lobsterman (Spencer Howard): Your crustacean interloper role is weird enough without you needing to belabor the play’s final moments and slow everything down to a crawl.

Finally, to whoever provided those piles of books to the set: Are we to believe that these crazed lovers, who quote Baudelaire and worship Johnny Ace, would have these as their bedside reading material? Arthur Miller? Shakespeare? Sinclair Lewis? O. Henry? The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin?

As for director Samuel Hunter: Well, you got through it. That’s something. Tough show to do. Why you did it, it’s hard to tell from your production, which is so scriptbound and choreographed it lacks any of the madness which is essential to this dark, cruel, rock & roll passion play.

Cowboy Mouth. Theatre Asylum. June 23-26. Hollywood Fringe.

Christopher Arnott

Christopher Arnott has scribbled about theater in Connecticut for over 25 years, mainly for the New Haven Advocate. He blogs as New Haven Theater Jerk.

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