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On the Verge
Review by Doric Wilson, L.A. Review, June 2-June 15, 1989

Three women in high buttons and pith helmets stand on a remote beach. It is 1888 and stretching before them is the uncharted wilderness of the last great unknown, Terra Incognita. Experienced explorers, they pause to make a final check of their supplies — medical miscellany, matches, machetes, and most importantly, pre-prepared generic postcards as souvenir stands are somewhat scarce in the forest primeval.

Satisfied with their preparations, the intrepid trio advance, umbrellas at ready, hacking their way through the steaming tangle of nonsequitors that is On the Verge, Eric Overmyer’s wily and witty comedy of the mind currently at the Colony.

With the innate innocence of the adventurous, these "lady travelers" are off on a journey that makes climbing the Himalayas seem like an afternoon’s amble through the Hollywood Hills. They are about to inadvertently discover that ultimate lost civilization — the future.

Leading the way is no nonsense Mary Baltimore from Boston, a collector of artifacts, played with radiant fortitude by Barbara Beckley. Her exhilaration at the discovery of the stray specimen is infectious, making anthropologists of us all.

At her side is the romantic Fanny, a housewife from Terra Haute with a fascination for Zulus. Lindy Nisbet gives the character a sweet battiness and genteel determination which is more than a match for the occasional cannibal one encounters on such a trek.

Splendid Sheri Galan is Alexandra, the youngest. A miss of the new age, she carries a Kodak and privately promotes trousers for women. As the jargon of now begins invading her Victorian vocabulary, little does she know that right around the bend lurks a bigger surprise, the troll on the Harley.

With the new Equity rules making shows with large casts an economic problem, director Michael David Wadler has found a simple solution. Cast Jonathan Palmer, he can play them all. And he does. From Mr. Coffee to Madame Nhu, Palmer offers more characterizations than a novel by Dickens, each one of them perfectly delineated. Perfect also are the video and sound designs of Michael David Wadler and Vince Acosta which take us from mountain peaks to the heart of a kaleidoscope.
 
 

Copyright 1989 L.A. Review
On The Verge at the Colony Theatre