Category Archive for: ‘Richard Connema’

Mid03

A WILD PRODUCTION OF JOHN FISHER’S “THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY”

Trust John Fisher and the Theatre Rhinoceros Company to come up with a queer-camp musical production on the naval battle during World War 2 in Pacific that changed the course of the war in the Pacific in favor of the Americans.  Frankly I wondered how John Fisher was going to pull this one out since I was well acquainted with his camp productions of “Medea the musical” and “The Joy of Sex”. Also I wondered since I spent from 1944 to 1947 in the Pacific Theatre War how would I enjoy seeing it had been made into a camp musical.  I need not have worried since it was pure camp full of delightful energy.

As John said for history, it should been taken with a bucket of salt.  He suggested if you are looking for facts go to Van der Vat’s “The Pacific Campaign” or Tully’s “Shattered Sword” or even go the film “Midway”.  John has thrown everything but the kitchen sink into his fast pace two and half hour musical.

My biggest challenge in writing this is to try to tell you what is going on so I will just give some of things you will see. Donald Currie who plays Nim, a US Admiral also plays one of the craziest drags as Admiral Fletch’s wife that I have ever seen.  He also plays; get this, the island of Midway. He is made up to look like a cardboard Mikado. There are some of his gyrations during the performance that I won’t even go into.

John Fisher plays Fletch, a US Admiral who nicely camps the entire time.  He has even inserts some from the ballet “Swan Lake” during the last moments of the musical where the whole cast attempts ballet movements. I doubt if the Sumin Ballet or San Francisco Ballet will come knocking at their door for any of the dancers. To represent Pearl Harbor John merely drops a pearl in the middle of the stage.

Justin Lucas gets a chance to show his trim body when he takes his shirt off a few times and he also plays in drag Michiko, a Japanese girl who mouths “Young Love” and later with his own pitch perfect voice “Oh, Hiro”

Four persons dressed in dark blue coveralls to represent the Japanese aircraft and four dressed in navy uniforms represent the Americans aircraft.  Many times they run about the small intimate stage with arms extended to represent Japanese and American aircraft.  The American navy is represented by small cutouts of aircraft carriers, cruisers and battleships made of cardboard on a thin wooden stand. These are placed on the floor directly in front of the audience. The Japanese “pilots” use pencils as torpedoes to try to knock out the aircraft carriers.

There is music composed by Don Seaver with lyrics by John Fisher that is quite stirring especially in the second act with “War” and “Tactics”.

“The Battle of Midway” runs through November 30th at The Costume Shop”, 1117 Market Street, San Francisco. For tickets call 1-800-838-3006 or on line at www.TheRhino.org    Coming up next will be David Mamet “The Anarchist” opening at the Eureka Theatre on January 2th and running through January 18th.

Page 2 of 3«123»