Fusion’s ‘Meteor Shower’ an outrageous comic delight - Albuquerque Journal

Fusion’s ‘Meteor Shower’ an outrageous comic delight

Matt K. Miller and Celia Schaefer star in “Meteor Shower.”

Steve Martin is one of the best-known comedians in the world, rising to stardom in the 1970s with his “wild and crazy guy” routine on “Saturday Night Live.”

Since then, he has written several screenplays and appeared in many movies, hosted the Academy Awards and recorded an award-winning bluegrass album; and if all that is not enough, he has written novels and plays. I tend to be skeptical when I hear that a famous actor has suddenly decided to be a novelist or a playwright, but I was impressed with his adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s play “The Underpants.” Although the success may have had more to do with Sternheim’s gifts than with Martin’s, it is undoubtedly one of the funniest plays I’ve ever read.

Martin’s most recent dramaturgical effort, “Meteor Shower” — currently receiving its Southwest premiere at Fusion Theatre — is even funnier than “The Underpants,” especially as performed by the superlative Fusion cast, who approach the outrageous material with unabashed gusto and meticulous comic skill.

The play is a ruthless skewering of Southern California pretension and narcissism, and at the same time an absurd look at marriage in the modern world. Norm and Corky are an attractive middle-aged couple experimenting with New Age techniques of inculcating marital harmony. Whenever one of them says something even remotely insensitive, they hold hands, make eye contact, and say, “I love you and I know you love me. I understand you probably didn’t mean to hurt me, but please be more careful with my feelings.”

At the start of the play, they are awaiting the arrival of another couple for cocktails. Gerald and Laura are their polar opposites: crass, aggressive, sexually rapacious and utterly superficial. In fact, this is the repressed superego meeting its own unrepressed id, and it makes for one wild, over-the-top explosion of absurd and surreal comedic encounters.

Director Robb Sisneros has cast four excellent actors, who under his guidance are in top form. Bruce Holmes, who from past performances we might expect to see in the role of Gerald, has carefully manicured his tousled long hair and excess energies to play “normal Norm,” and he has never been better. As his wife, Corky, Jacqueline Reid demonstrates not only precise comic timing but lithe limbs, as she deftly manipulates a piece of celery with her left leg, much to Laura’s bemused astonishment and the audience’s astonished delight.

New York actress Celia Schaefer delivers each gesture, turn of the head and phrase with comic precision, and is hysterical as the sexually voracious bisexual Laura. Matt Miller plays her husband, Matt, with lascivious delight and perfectly calibrated manic energy. This is tour de force ensemble playing, as good as you’ll find anywhere in the country.

Set designer Richard Hogle has crafted a precise facsimile of a tasteful upper middle-class California dining room and patio. The color pattern is exquisitely coordinated and the design dominated by a work of abstract modern art that might be taken for a perfectly spherical meteor headed straight for planet Earth.

This is for mature audiences, but not to be missed.

“Meteor Shower” is playing at The Cell, 700 First NW, although the final performance, on April 6, will be at the KiMo Theater, 423 Central NW. Go to fusionnm.org or call 766-9412 for reservations.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Farm & Table, La Parada hosting Dia de los ...
Arts
Farm & Table restaurant and its ... Farm & Table restaurant and its adjacent store La Parada are hosting a free community celebratio ...
2
Milne Stadium named for a long-time superintendent and visionary
Arts
Friday night lights have illuminated the ... Friday night lights have illuminated the city's first high school stadium for decades. ...
3
On canvas and on skin
Arts
Native artist/tattooist creates fantasy world of ... Native artist/tattooist creates fantasy world of eerie surrealism
4
Jonathan Franzen dreams big, goes deep with 'Crossroads'
Arts
Jonathan Franzen dreams big. His newest ... Jonathan Franzen dreams big. His newest novel, "Crossroads," arrives with an audible thud on readers ...
5
Jewish Book Fest authors draw on history and hope
Arts
Eight authors give virtual talks about ... Eight authors give virtual talks about their books in the 2021 Fall Je ...
6
Soprano finds role of Violetta 'a challenge' as Opera ...
Arts
Singing makes Sarah Asmar bubble.The Connecticut-based ... Singing makes Sarah Asmar bubble.The Connecticut-based soprano will sing the role of t ...
7
Exhibit uses art to reclaim stories and memories of ...
Arts
With the pandemic still raging and ... With the pandemic still raging and election results still disputed, maps have acquired a central pre ...
8
Pansies bring winter color to barrel containers
Arts
Q. I have two half barrels ... Q. I have two half barrels at the entrance to my patio home that get sun until around 2 p.m. during ...
9
ALT brings Simon's 'The Odd Couple' to the stage
Arts
Oscar is a slob. Felix is ... Oscar is a slob. Felix is fastidious. What more can you say about "The Odd Couple?"