FATAL ATTRACTION: A GREEK TRAGEDY
East 13th Street Theatre
136 E. 13th St.
Though Aug. 27
Tues.-Sat. at 8pm, Fri. and Sat. at 10:30 pm, Sun. at 6 pm
Alana McNair, back, as Glenn Close and Corey Feldman as Michael Douglas.
Outrageous new Off-Broadway spoof
Play is a satire of the 1987 film Fatal Attraction
BY Scott Harrah
When the classic Hollywood thriller Fatal Attraction appeared in theaters back in 1987, some critics praised it as a cautionary tale about casual sex and marital infidelity. Nearly two decades later, the films celebration of traditional family values seems incredibly dated and downright hokeysomething ripe and ready for a 21st century parody. Playwrights and actors Alana McNair and Kate Wilkinson stab the films heavy-handed moral themes with a sharp satirical needle in their outrageous Off-Broadway spoof, Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy. With former 1980s icon Corey Feldman in the lead role, the play will certainly delight the actors many fans and anyone yearning to laugh at the absurdities of the decade known for big hair and corporate greed.
Dont let the title fool you. Theres nothing tragic about Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy, other than some lame dance sequences and scary 80s hairstyles and fashions. The intent here is shameless, over-the-top camp. As a send-up of Fatal Attraction and its stereotypical characters, the play does actually work at times. For the uninitiated, the 1987 film told the story of a married lawyer who had a one-night stand with a successful businesswoman and then paid a heavy price when she started stalking him and his family. The play celebrates this theme in countless ads in which it is billed as the play that will not be ignored. Everything about the moviefrom Glenn Closes atrocious outfits, Michael Douglass sexually ambiguous child and his saccharine suburban wife to the infamous boiled bunny scene and the melodramatic climax in the bloody bathtubis skewered for the sake of lowbrow laughs. The actors actually use the names of the original movies own actors. Corey Feldman plays Michael Douglas as Michael Douglas.
Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy would have been perfect if it was simply a mockery of the movie, but unfortunately we have an added Greek chorus that comments on the action by using texts from the Greek tragedy oeuvre and turn-of-the-20th-century home-etiquette propaganda. The Greek chorus seems unnecessary, many of their scenes simply make no sense, and do little to explain the situation. Woody Allen used the same gimmick in Mighty Aphrodite, and the Greek chorus in that film was also pointless. One is left wondering how the authors saw any similarity between the movie and Greek tragedy. Perhaps director Timothy Haskell (who recently amused Off-Broadway theatergoers with the Paris Hilton comedy I Love Paris) could have edited out many of the weak Greek chorus sequences. However, with only 70 minutes of material to work with, Haskell manages to keep everything fast-paced, including several silly martial-arts fight sequences that were, of course, never in the original film.
Feldman gives a goofy caricature of Michael Douglas and hams it up in every scene, mimicking the actors facial movements, gestures and voice. Kate Wilkinson has Anne Archers soccer mom persona down quite well. Two cast members truly standout, however. Alana McNair, as Glenn Close, wonderfully portrays all the overwrought mannerisms, works the characters big blonde hair, and exudes all the characteristics of one of Hollywoods most notorious needy nutcases. Aaron Haskell (in little-girl drag as Ellen Hamilton Latzen) is hilarious as the gender-bending child. Because the material here was so tailor-made for parody, the authors unnecessarily diluted some of the satire by padding the story with the convoluted Greek twist. Yet, despite the plays numerous flaws, it works as fun, lighthearted summer theater fare.