This review of the play entitled "Tell-Tale" was written and published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and appeared in Volume I, Issue 2 (December, 1997) of Applause! Applause!
"Tell-Tale" - A Play by Eric Jackson
The Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street, NYC)
"Tell-Tale", a Theatre Couture Production, is a delightful spoof of horror films, plays and short stories. It is an engrossing, well-written show complete with musical numbers, Latin dances, instant replays, and visual effects by Basil Twist which include moving severed body parts and a black raven, of course. Sherry Vine, a/k/a Keith Levy, plays Lenore Usher, a woman on the edge, who has just made bundles of money publishing a book entitled "Corpus" which has detailed drawings of the human body. Lenore subsequently divorced her husband, Buddy, leaving him with no portion of her fortune and then spent some time in a mental institution before returning to her penthouse and "loyal" servant, Cora Tripetta, played by Jackie Beat, a/k/a Kent Fuher. Juan, a pizza delivery boy, is played by Mario Diaz, who also plays the roles of Buddy Starcher and Detective Sanders. All three actors put in superior performances and are polished professionals.
This play is campy, funny, sexy, intriguing and never boring. The set is wonderful. The musical selections are always appropriate. The visual effects are inventive and the dance numbers are well-executed. The most interesting aspect of this production is what I shall call the "instant replay" which recalls a part of the show that you may or may not have seen and presents that segment in an abbreviated fast motion form so that you get the point without having to listen to all the dialogue that may have transpired. It is a brilliant technique and one that you must see to believe.
Since I dare not say more which might detract from your enjoyment of this excellent show, I will instead report to you some of my favorite lines from the play. After Lenore refuses to answer her door bell, the pizza delivery boy says "I'm holding a meaty twelve incher and I'm not leaving until you take it." After letting him in and seeing that he is wet due to the rain outside, Lenore says "You're soaked to the bone." Juan subsequently says "I'm a big boy with a big appetite." Lenore retorts "Dinner is served!" Lenore also frequently looks at her reflection in the window repeating to herself "Not Nuts! Not Nuts!" Eventually, Lenore dismembers a body while the song "Love Hurts" is played. Cora, helping Lenore dispose of the body parts says "Chop! Chop! Let's go Lizzy!" Buddy to Cora: "Don't shit me!" Cora to Buddy: "If done properly, I won't!" Cora to Detective: "Would you like a stiff one?" Detective: "Two fingers please." Cora: "I'm never satisfied with less than three."
Keith Levy's program note reports that "Ms. Vine can be seen regularly all over Manhattan." Mario Diaz's program note reports that "When not performing, Diaz enjoys taking long walks on the beach, fine dining and robbing convenience stores." Kent Fuher's program note states that he "dedicates this performance to his mother, Liliana, who taught him everything he knows about overacting, histrionics and being a martyr." Go see this fun show!!