Wet shot

Hopscotch: The Second Coming

Written and directed by Wendy R. Williams
Texas Toast Productions
The Red Room
85 E. 4th St. (212/841-5410)
Non-union production (closes Apr. 16)
Review by Charles Battersby

Hopcotch: The Second Coming is the sequel to Hopscotch: The New York Sex Comedy. The first one had lots of loose threads remaining at the end, but it wasn't exactly a cliffhanger (no one was halfway to Mordor with the Ring of Doom), so the sequel started afresh with its own story, keeping most of the characters from the first play.

Somewhere between Hop 1 and Hop 2, the characters have started a business called coolnewyork.com. Just what this Web site does is never made fully clear, but coolnewyork.com becomes a huge success, and halfway through the play the characters begin stabbing one another in the back to gain control of it. There are Amanda (Shannon Stewart) and Royston (Stephen Wheeler) on one side, with Nick (Christopher Frey), Margo (Samantha Downs), and Elsie (Remy Crane) on the other. Since none of the characters ever develop beyond caricatures, and all of them were equally unlikable, it was never clear which faction the audience should root for.

As the double entendre implies, there was lots of sex in Hopscotch: The Second Coming. Although no one got naked, there was plenty of simulated sex, and many of the laughs in the show came from these scenes. Yet, by the time every actor in the show dry-humped everyone else, the shock value had worn off, and so had the humor. Playwright/director Wendy Williams wrote in a few pieces of funny dialogue, but for the most part Hop 2 relied on physical humor that lost its edge halfway through the performance.

The cast seemed to have been chosen more for their looks than for their comic timing, with hot-babe chicks in lingerie flouncing around the stage during every scene. One of the returning cast members from Hop 1, Maurice Neuhaus, proved to be more than a pretty face though. Even though he played a stereotypical drag queen (he lip-synched "It's Raining Men"), Neuhaus played the role with just the right amount of camp, and stole the show.

The costumes, while VERY sexy, were mostly off-the-rack Victoria's Secret for the women, with the men noticeably dressed down in blue jeans (though no one was looking at the men with Caroline Liebert and Melinda Sharretts prancing around in satin and fishnets).

Lighting designers Liz Driscoll and James Maher did a great job on the lighting and sound (especially during Neuhaus's lip-synch), but the set was better left in the dark. Just tables, chairs, and a couch on a black-box stage. Previous incarnations of Hopscotch had a gorgeous, half-naked set crew, who were sorely missed on this bland set.

With both Hoscotch plays running around an hour long, they seemed better suited as one full-length play than two one-acts. There's little chance of that happening, since Hop 2 hints at an unwarranted THIRD Hopscotch. As with Hop 1, Hop 2's ending lacked a cliffhanger that might inspire an audience to come back and see Hopscotch 3. After all, the fate of Middle Earth hardly depends on who runs coolnewyork.com.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 1
Acting: 1
Sets: 0
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2003 Charles Battersby