Everyone would like the traditional Hollywood heaven to be real: Pearly gates rested on a cloud, St. Peter greeting all the new angels, golden harps and the inevitable meeting with the almighty God himself.
However, after viewing "Steambath," my eyes were opened to an entirely new view of the here-after. In this humorous satire, heaven has been replaced by a midway station halfway between heaven and hell. Marble tile takes the place of pearly gates and they rest upon a cloud of steam. The angels consist of homosexuals, a dumb blonde and a nose-picking "fartaholic". who are clad in skimpy bath towels rather than golden robes. God's right hand man is a butler who provides everything from draft beer to Mounds bars and the big boss, God, is a floor sweeping Puerto Rican who controls the universe with a light-spitting machine.
Craig Smith excellently stars as Tandy, a man who helps welders with brain damage and who is "just getting his life together." He would like nothing better than to return to earth, eat won shih pancakes and finish his biography on Charlemagne. Smith has the remarkable ability of lighting the stage with emotional bursts of anger and excitement because he seems .to wear the part like a glove.
I wish I could say the same for Robin Kissell [Meredith]. I couldn't quite tell if she was playing Miss High Society or the dumb blonde because she seemed to lean inconsistently from one side to the other. However, in whatever she lacked in developing her role, she made up for in the looks department. With that thick blonde mane and perfect face, because of her role, all she really had to do was smile and softly say her lines.
Another person to be commended is Jim Landis in his crude portrayal of Bieberman. Whether he's picking his nose, scratching his rear end or just spitting food out of his mouth, he's as gross as can be and lives up to the epitome of disgust. He seems like a collection of old Rosanna Roseannadanna jokes all rolled into one role and is no less than hilarious to all those who appreciate sick humor.
If awards go out in this show, the prize would undoubtedly go to Adrian Jaime who plays Morty, otherwise known as God. From his flashy open-collar shirt to his tight pants, he looks like he just stepped out of a discotheque rather than a bathroom bowl. As a Puerto Rican steambath attendant, he appears to be the last person to be in charge. But he takes command of his part perfectly and carries it with a light, easy-going manner and a devil-maycare attitude. He is hilarious at trying to prove his authentic title by displaying such wonderous miracles as card tricks and drinking an 80 gallon whisky sour. He periodically yells commands at his destruction rhachine like, "Give that girl on the bus a run in her stocking" and "Give Canada some rain." His unlimited vitality is amazing and he keeps the play on the high energy level it should be.
The setting was nothing short of fantastic. The marble tile, showers and constant flow of steam made the steambath icredibly realistic. The lighting, consisting of simple tones, proved to be very effective for the setting of the play.
Overall, I feel that "Steambath is one of the more excellent plays Fullerton has staged in the past few years. Playing in the studio theatre, it continues through tonight and tomorrow evening