Looped – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

With a tumbler of scotch in one hand and a cigarette dangling in the other, Tallulah Bankhead was a southern actress who flaunted excesses and ravished underlings. Outspoken and flamboyant, she had a persona that was larger-than-life. The famous lady in question will be bringing her giant sized ego and personality to the stage of the Connecticut Cabaret in Berlin weekends until Saturday, March 21.

Kelly Boucher will play the famous, or infamous if you prefer, star in “Looped” by Matthew Lombardo, under the careful and detailed direction of Kris McMurray. In the summer of 1965, Tallulah Bankhead was “invited” to return to the studio to re-record, dub or “loop” one line of dialogue from her last movie “Die! Die! My Darling!”

The fact that the actress was drunk when she arrives, the fact that she was demanding and difficult, the fact that she has a battle royal of wits with the film editor Danny Miller, a patient but troubled Chris Pearson, all combine to make what should have been a fifteen minute breeze into an eight hour ordeal, an intensely humorous ordeal.

The play is based on this true event. The legendary actress had to say “And so Patricia, as I was telling you, that deluded rector has in literal effect closed the church to me.” The movie was a British thriller about a woman (Mrs. Trefoile, played by Bankhead) who blames Patricia for her son’s death.

They were to marry but he dies in a car accident. The religion-crazed and demented Mrs. Trefoile holds Patricia captive to cleanse her soul and ultimately to kill her. Fortunately Patricia is rescued and Mrs. Trefoile meets a deadly end.

Boucher’s tour-de-force performance as Tallulah is on the cutting edge of fabulous. She and Pearson are wonderful foils for each other, as they battle to achieve their separate goals, both aided by the sound engineer, played off stage by a bored Steve captured beautifully by James J. Moran.

For tickets ($35), call the CT Cabaret, 31-33 Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1248 or online at www.ctcabaret.com. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:15 p.m. Remember this is cabaret so bring goodies to share at your table or plan to buy them at the concession stand on site.

Witness the showdown between a traditionally mild mannered sound editor, played by Chris Pearson, who is tempted to use his audio cords and wires to squeeze the correct words from the throat of the inebriated star, a temperamental star created perfectly by Kelly Boucher.