The Train Play

Too much metaphysics and not enough drama, but music and humor save it from an ugly wreck

Liz Duffy Adams was so full of ideas for The Train Play, apparently, that she couldn't keep the title down to a simple phrase. The show is really called The Train Play or the Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge of It, and "train play" echoes Bob Dylan's churning, bluesy "Train Song" ("Don't say I never warned you, baby/ When your train gets lost"). Characters sit in old, green, vinyl seats, arranged in a curving row to suggest a train going 'round a bend. Passengers include a boozy old sophisticate with a British accent who wants to smoke on the train and turns out to be the Earth Goddess, Gaia; a gal who thinks she's a comic-book character named Leopard Girl; a shy but horny physicist who wonders out loud about the nature of reality; and an Irishman pursued by angels ("Gabriel Angelfood"). The weight of ideas loaded onto this train would be enough to derail it if the acting weren't so good -- Linda Jones breathes life into the physicist, Gwyneth Richards is outstanding as Gaia, and three actors (Richard Bolster, Michael Ferris Gibson, and David Koppel) do hilarious work as idealistic Russian brothers on a mission of peace in honor of their "St. Chekhov" -- especially when they break into song. Like the show across the hall at Exit Stage Left (see next review), the playwright indulges in too much mythological metaphysics and not enough drama, but music and humor save it from an ugly wreck.

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