Gotham Standards

Written and performed by Chris Harcum
Directed by Janine Marie McCabe
Lt. Clark's Theatre
Manhattan Theatre Source
Non-union production (closed)
Review by Jade Esteban Estrada

Chris Harcum's Gotham Standards is an electrifying one-person exploration into the minds of various modern-day men of all ages and backgrounds. The production played a one-time performance as part of the Flopnight Development Series at Manhattan Theatre Source. The new work showcased a talented writer and performer in a unique show that reminded us that in the beginning of every boy's young life -- Batman came first.

The Lt. Clark's Theatre production includes eight distinct characters that are not at all related yet seem to be discovering (or trying to discover) new ways of dealing with the obstacles in their lives.

Harcum played himself in the show's beginning and revealed his life's obsession with the comic-book hero Batman. The dialog was funny, fresh, and full of depth as he told the story of his dear grandmother's slowly slipping into immortality.

His second character, Alex, is a Scotsman living in Canada talking to his therapist. Harcum displayed a wonderful consistency with his talent for dialect where most of his fellow American actors would falter. This was also apparent in his Manny, an older Eastern European immigrant living in New York City, as he waits in line at a local fast-food restaurant.

Harcum spun from one character to another, as he transformed into Dr. Astrov -- a high-energy personality who has just released a new book -- and then Jungle Jim, a little boy who is convinced he's had sex because he kissed a girl on the lips.

The two most compelling characters, however, were Arthur the Almanac, a guy waiting for a train who is comforting a woman who has just suffered an unnamed loss, and Blindfold, who is discussing his relationship with God while wishing He was a woman he was dating instead of a great deity.

Janine Marie McCabe did a first-rate job of directing, particularly the flash segment in the Dr. Astrov section, which was exciting to watch.

Jenny Sawyers's scenic design was simple and full of visual Batmanisms the audience might have forgotten they loved.

Sean Crowley's lighting design helped the show reach a true distinction with each scene, while Harcum did a clean job with his own sound editing.

This production was engaging and portable. This could be a fine touring piece and a great vehicle for a talented performer.

Box Score:

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

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Copyright 2003 Jade Esteban Estrada