CELIA IPIOTIS REVIEWS "THE PANIC OF '29
Not an era known for its gaiety, the 1929 crash destroyed many lives and plunged the country into a soul-crushing depression. Presented by Less Than Rent at 59E59, The Panic of '29 features a sharp group of actors in an intimate play buoyed by jazz music.
Caught in the noose of the financial crash, the smartly dressed, and very wealthy Richard Whitney (Erik Locktefeld) takes a financial dive. His secretary, Dot (Olivia Puckett) escapes the cascading dilemma and arrives at a jazz joint fronted by Eva (Joyelle Nicole Johnson) and featuring nightly vocal entertainment by the accomplished Lady Generosity (Julia Knitel).
Written by Graham Techler, and directed by Max Friedman, the "Roaring Twenties" draw the audience into speakeasies, flappers in boas and fringe (by Corina Chase), gritty suspects, cops and flim-flam artists. Suddenly everyone goes into an upside-down world, where the wealthy tango with the con artists and plain ole' artists.
Spotlighting a strong cast, there's lively music, a winsome band of characters, and wacky, Keystone cops romp. Central to the play's dynamic heart stands Lady Generosity who falls for a writer, the winning Jimmy Armstrong (Will Roland).
Set in a compact space, the company activates all corners of a stage that's capable of inventively shape shifting through flexible sets by Friedman and atmospheric lighting by Jamie Roderick.
The Panic of '29 punches above its weight.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis