Silly Cow

Have you ever wondered what training and background theatre critics have that qualify them to analyze other peoples work? So do I. As a member of this eclectic "club," my observation is that credentials vary from those who are trained specifically in the theatre to those who came to it late, and from those who use specialties such as psychology and history to analyze the material to those who attend theatre simply for its entertainment value.

In Ben Elton's Silly Cow, now in production at Germinal Stage Denver, Doris Wallace is a theatre critic who uses her tart wit and dark imagination to lambaste production after production with a relentless over-the-top stream of vitriol that has left every actor in the city seething with disgust at her artless lies and vacuous politics. Just in case you're wondering, it seems that every theatre city has at least one such self-possessed critic to contend with, Denver included.

Sally Diamond, in fright wig, fat suit and tasteless leopard skin apparel effortlessly inflates Doris in all her grand, arrogant and opinionated glory, making a perfect heel of herself one minute and zinging us with astute political barbs the next. If Diamond's larger-than-life nightmare isn't enough to send you to your psychiatrist, Eric Sarzin-Borrillo's safari décor will certainly leave you in need of medication.

Doris aspires to something more than her so-called craft, which she refers to as hack journalism, and ever so ready to fulfill her vainglorious aspirations are a host of peculiar characters as flaky as herself, including Peggy, a mousy secretary, Sidney, her egregious editor-to-be, Douglas, the self-effacing accountant, and Eduardo, her in-your-face boy-toy, all played with aplomb by Anne Myers, John Greene, Sam Hakim, and Mark Sharp.

Although the plot of Silly Cow takes a while to get warmed up and requires an ear attuned to British phraseology to fully appreciate, every actor and theatre aficionado who has suffered at the pen of snooty critics will enjoy the ending. And judging from the reactions of some critics, the play hits uncomfortably close to home. Silly Cow runs through July 8th at the Germinal Stage. 303-455-7108.


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