We had kitchen sink drama, now we've got kitchen stove drama. Local playwright Gabrielle Reisman's rollicking comedy Taste is hard to characterize — a postmodern farce, perhaps. The characters are not postmodern in the sense of being murky or obscure. Rather they're young bohemians, and postmodernism is the air they breathe. One is called Sandwich, for instance, as in the earl, he insists, not the food. When asked where he's from, he replies "the future." Is he putting us on? Is he putting himself on? Doesn't matter. It's funny.
That sort of delectable patter pours out steadily. There is a plot, but I'm not sure it is what moves the play forward.
Taste begins in a kitchen and stays there except for brief scenes on a neighboring roof. Jeanette (Kristin Witterchein) is cooking and Hendrick (James Yeargain) joins her. Amidst comic dialogue about a proposed streetcar line, we get the sense something more personal is being masked.
It turns out a man named William was Jeanette's lover, but he has flown the coop with a girl named Calley, who was renting a room from Jeanette. Jeanette and Hendrick vent their fury in oddly unconvincing ways. Sandwich (James Bartelle) enters. He was Calley's lover, but has been in Austin, Texas. Like the others, he's shocked to learn that he's been left flat. The group is joined by Hendrick's brother Robby (A.J. Allegra), a woman named Eden (Emilie Whelan) wearing a unicorn costume and, finally, William (Richard Alexander Pomes).
There is much humor, including cockeyed word play and knockabout physical nonsense. There also are many more complications that I won't reveal, in case the NOLA Project brings the comedy back to Le Petit Theatre.
Director Ashley Ricord deserves credit for taking a fresh, free approach. The excellent cast brought the material to life quite magically. Taste is local theater at its best. Bravo. — Dalt Wonk