Robin Amos Kahn must have led a strange life. Her new play, Scrambled Eggs, proves it.
While Johnny Carson perfected the monologue standing on a stage by himself, Kahn shows that an actress can do a monologue assisted by four other actors on stage, off stage and on stage again.
The frenetic pace of the show about a woman’s angst is somewhat disconcerting. But before long Amy Van Nostrand, as the woman prone to having conversations of major import with herself, pulls it off and draws the audience in to her life.
The play, on a short run at the Beckett Theater on Theater Row, could have fallen flat as so many others have. But Kahn’s deft hand and performances by Van Nostrand, Jim Frangione (as the husband and a plethora of other personalities), Candace Brecker and Mary Catherine Wright are an entertaining crew.
There are no cheap laughs here; each one is earned with true feeling as are other emotions. Audience members can often relate to Van Nostrand’s life.
Scrambled Eggs is perfectly suited for the small theater on 42nd Street’s Theater Row. It would have faded into the woodwork of a bigger house. But here the players are able to reach the audience and draw them in.
Karen Hoffman (Van Nostrand) experiences much of what is humorous in life on her hectic journey from childhood to adulthood to various other locations in The Hood. She has a sexual awakening, works through her dysfunctional parents and the pressures of dating and ultimately marriage.
The other characters, each playing a variety of roles, run on stage, deliver lines and vanish…some before you even realize they were there. While the show could easily be classed as a “woman’s show,” the men in the audience found themselves laughing and joining in as they recognized situations they no doubt experienced themselves with wives, girlfriends and mothers.
You won’t be rolling on the floor in laughter, but you will be laughing.
The play closes on May 11. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with tickets priced at $19.25. Few shows, on or off Broadway are that inexpensive and this is money well spent. Tickets are available at the box office, 410 West 42nd Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues). They may also be obtained online at www.scrambledeggstheplay.com.
The Beckett Theater is located in Theater Row, conveniently reached by bus or subway. For those driving parking is not as convenient as it once was. Until recently curbside parking by the theater was permitted after 7 p.m. In its ultimate wisdom, the Bloomberg Administration has now made the curb lane a “buses only” lane, preventing any convenient place to park.
We decided to make an added stop prior to the show. Only a few doors west of the theater is one of the more unique and interesting bistros in the Northeast, Chez Josephine, named for the American chanteuse, Josephine Baker who made a major name for herself in Paris.
Owned and operated I a very hands-on manner by Jean-Claude Baker, one of Josephine’s almost adopted children; restaurant could easily be mistaken for a 1920s speakeasy.
It is dark; there is a red décor and a panel divider funneling guests into the restaurant. Greeting everyone with a smile is Jean-Claude himself. Reservations? If you don’t have one many eateries in Manhattan will turn you away. Not Jean-Claude. He quickly directs a waiter to escort two guests to a window table and seats them.
While service was a bit spotty, that could be excused because Chez Josephine was busy. The first question asked of diners is “Are you going to a show?” If so, they ensure that your order is delivered promptly and you’ll never miss a curtain. At the same time diners are not rushed, food isn’t shoved onto the table. The total experience is relaxed and pleasant.
In the background live, soft music wafts through the room, putting everyone at ease and relaxed; a definite enhancement to the meal. Prices are a bit more expensive, but not outrageous or out of line for a fine Manhattan restaurant.
Chez Josephine is a favorite dining spot where you can find international government officials and celebrities sitting next to a transvestite with neither infringing on the other.
This was the perfect precursor to an evening of theater. Reservations may be made by calling (212) 594-1925. Check out the website at www.chezjosephine.com.
Chez Josephine is located at 411 West 42nd Street. Drop in and say “Hello” to Jean-Claude.
-BY DALE REYNOLDS