Horseplay OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Richard Termine
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    February 13, 2015
    Closing:
    March 1, 2015

    Theater: La MaMa E.T.C. / 74A East Fourth Street, New York, NY, 10003

    Synopsis: 

    Adah Isaacs Menken. The Naked Lady. The Great Bare. Prince Mazeppa. Infelicita. Dolorous. Black. White. Jewish. Catholic. Housewife. Lesbian. Actress. Poet. Equestrienne. World famous. Forgotten. Who was she really? Theatre Askew continues its celebration of the history of queer culture in New York City with Horseplay: or, The Fickle Mistress, a biographical reconstruction/Ridiculous reimagining of the life of the 19th-century international superstar, Adah Isaacs Menken.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Horseplay

    In ‘Horseplay,’ a Terrible Actress Becomes Her Era’s Kim Kardashian

    Alexis Soloski

    February 18, 2015: A hopeless actress with a genius for self-promotion, Adah Isaacs Menken straddled a few decades of the mid-19th century, often onstage, occasionally on horseback. She shared poems and beds with a dizzying host of artists and boxers and intellectuals. If that era had invented Instagram, she would have been its queen. Trav S. D. (the pen name of the neo-vaudevillian Travis Stewart) both honors and derides Menken with Horseplay: or, The Fickle Mistress, a Protean Picaresque, produced by Theater Askew at La MaMa. A framing device finds Adah (Molly Pope), in her early 30s, in Paris on her deathbed, recounting her life story to her manager at the time, Frank Queen (Chuck Montgomery). But Queen is frustrated by her contradictions and evasions. “You hint that you’re black, you proclaim that you’re Jewish, you dress like a man and turn heads like a woman,” he grumbles. “Who aren’t you, I’d like to know?”

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