Burst my bubble

Different Dreams Different Times

Written and performed by Vickie Phillips
Musical direction by Gerry Dieffenbach
Co-conceived and directed by Bob Ost
Midtown International Theatre Festival
Raw Space Theatre M
529 W. 42nd St. (279-4200/www.ticketcentral.org)
Equity showcase (closes July 27)
Review by John Chatterton

Different Dreams Different Times is Vickie Phillips's tribute to her own staying power as a performer and her willingness to pursue her dream wherever it takes her, even to Raw Space's austere Theatre M for a sparsely attended matinee in July. While the cabaret act starts (with "When You Wish Upon a Star" and Johnny Mercer's "Dream") with the suggestion that it is going to get gooey, Phillips turns a hard eye to the fragility of human ambition, as well as to her own aging. It takes courage to be both so indomitable and so honest.

This was an extremely simple show. Phillips wore a summery white pantsuit; the scenery comprised a black cube, a table (with flowers), and balloons; and about the only prop was a white teddy bear, unless you count the balloons, most of which got punctured along with Phillips's illusions. Director Bob Ost made the most of all the stage areas, as well as expertly milking the very last drop from the rep. lighting plot, supplemented by a long strand of Christmas-tree lights across the upstage wall. (Technical director, Ginny Hack.) Phillips brought the audience into the act toward the end, polling them on their dreams.

Phillips has a big voice, which she brought out confidently from time to time; she can also sing small and intimate, though sometimes she showed some hesitancy of intonation when doing so. One attraction of the show was the role of Dieffenbach, who joined in on several duets and took part in a little horseplay. Other highlights included a "childhood medley" ("Que Sera Sera," "Much More," and "Over the Rainbow"), "My Ship," "Humphrey Bogart," "Money Makes the World Go 'Round," Kander and Ebb's "Colored Lights," and "There's No Business Like Show Business." Dieffenbach provided "Made It Through Today" and "In Your Eyes," and the lineup also included Ost's own "Making a Difference" and "Would Anybody Like a Dream" (with Brad Ross).

It takes a delicate touch to handle this material without bruising it, and this team were up to the task.

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Performing: 2
Sets: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 2

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Copyright 2002 John Chatterton