The Golden Toad OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Suzanne Opton
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    January 23, 2015
    Closing:
    February 7, 2015

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

    Synopsis: 

    Talking Band celebrates their Fortieth Season with an episodic music-theater work that traces the shifting identities of its characters over time and changing circumstances. Developed by the company in four site-specific locations: the garden of a Brooklyn townhouse, a tour bus travelling through the New Jersey Meadowlands, a pop-up clothing store, a Karaoke bar called “The Golden Toad” – this world premiere re-creates and re-imagines the original sites throughout The Ellen Stewart Theatre so that the audience moves from episode to episode into four discrete worlds.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Golden Toad

    A Long, Strange Trip Indeed

    Neil Genzlinger

    January 29, 2015: The Golden Toad, the latest work by the experimental troupe the Talking Band, is a long, often amusing journey of discovery, but its characters do most of the discovering. The audience eventually learns everybody’s back story and who connects to whom, but not much about what it would be like to be any of these people. Watching the show, an elaborate construction in which the audience changes theaters four times, is like doing a jigsaw puzzle with friends: Eventually, the pieces fit together, and you see a picture, but the real rewards are presumably found along the way. Certainly the group, celebrating its 40th year with this production, gives you a lot to see and hear on the trip. The piece is told in four episodes and a short epilogue, the audience hoofing to a new part of La MaMa’s rather large space for each segment. First is an apartment building in Brooklyn, where it’s 2009, and Valerie (Ellen Maddow, a founder of the Talking Band) is having some trouble with her upstairs neighbors. They’re a gay couple (Mikeah Ernest Jennings and James Tigger! Ferguson) who are raising a daughter, Ava (Helen Gutowski, the standout in this cast). The next three hours are occupied by what happens to these and other characters in the ensuing years and the unexpected ways their lives intertwine.

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