REVIEW BY INOLA MCGUIRE
BIG, RICH & POWERFUL @ The Producers Club
358 West 44th Street, New York, NY
Saturday, March 26, 2016
The performance that I saw is “BIG, RICH & POWERFUL” conceived and directed by Robert Baumgardner; starring Curt Dixon, Nannette Deasy, Sam Katz, William Berg, Evie Aronson, Brianna Lee, and Carla Ulbrich.
The improvisation of the show allows the audience to reminisce about specific television shows of the 1980s. However, this time around, the members of the family are not fighting over oil or wine. The main conflict is over pickles. During the performance, the audience wonders if the family accumulates its wealth as old money or new money. The audience sees indulgence and the pitfalls in the family dynamics. Each member of the family has his or her own story to tell or life to live in excess along with greed, sex and betrayal.
One of the characters is Maximillian and he is a mama’s boy in his own right. His s ex-wife and mother of his children marries his competitor in the pickle business. His competitor’s brand of pickles is Vlasic. Maximillian’s love interest wears a tiara and she is the sister of his rival. He surrounds himself with the women who have emotional and blood ties with his arch rival. He’s a glutton for punishment for his ex-wife seeks revenge on him, and Max is not aware that Chandelier had targeted him on her brother’s behalf in her nail salon. Max enjoys his pedicure! He is a man who likes to be pampered.
Max’s children have their own problems. Dick is fed up with his cars! Now, he wants to construct a hanger for his airplane. His daughter wants more money for her allowance. Three hundred dollars are not enough for her to spend, but her mother advocates for her allowance. Max wants to know his daughter’s street name as an entertainer. He thinks she can support herself.
Max’s ex-wife, Barbara continues to frequent his home. The children don’t like Chandelier. Chandelier and Barbara exchange blows with each other. It is a skirmish like one on the television shows in the 1980s. Grand mama, Max’s mother, intercede in the goings on in their home. She voices her opinions on all aspects of her son’s life.
Between performances, a guitar-playing singer sings and entertains the audience with her salacious lyrics. The songs give the audience something else to think about until the family of pickled cucumbers returns with their sweet and sour flavors. Max’s pickle is juicy with the right brine for Chandelier. Perhaps she is a connoisseur of pickles. Her brother’s plans to destroy Maximillian backfire on him, for she becomes addicted to Max’s brand of pickle. Chandelier settles for the Kirby that is shorter, stouter, and have more spines. The Dill brand of pickles resonates with most customers. It’s the ideal size to feast on!
Grand mama goes to the hospital, and all in the family visit her, and she tells them that she gave birth to two sons. Grand mama has two waring sons in the pickle trade! This is an Esau and Jacob experience. Chandelier wants no part of this scenario, but there are some unresolved differences between the brands, Dill and Vlasic.
The writer gets his message across through the performance to the audience. It allows the audience to investigate what goes into the process of pickling cucumbers. In addition, it forces the audience to see how wealth is generated from the basic things in life. Through innovation; it sees how a family can become big, rich and powerful.