Star of the
accomplished players in a Magnet Theater show, Rebecca Drysdale stands
The players in the Magnet Theater’s early
Saturday night show, Tiny Spectacular, are a bit uneven in their ability
levels and have yet to mesh as a group -- in the way that member Jason
Mantzoukas’ other group, Mother at the UCB Theatre, does.
Mantzoukas is joined by a few other top notch performers, Rebecca
Drysdale, Miriam Tolan and Rachel Hamilton, while a couple others,
Christine Walters and Jean Villepique flail away without sure-handedly
presenting characters or fitting into the scenes they get in. (Group
members Ed Herbstman, James Eason and Tara Copeland were absent from
their most recent show).
Tolan fits characters into the group’s scenes without hesitation,
immediately becoming a snide nurse with attitude, and filling in with
support at key moments, as a walk-on martial artist and pramk phone
caller in other scenes, providing some glue between different stories
presented in the performance.
Together, the group did successfully weave a few funny stories together,
returning periodically to some of their plots. Just as often though, the
members ended up saying “I don’t know” when another made a cultural
reference they just weren’t up on, or responded to each other with
questions, which is usually the first “don’t” taught in Improv 101
But what makes Tiny Spectacular worth seeing is Drysdale, who portrayed,
in delightfully warped fashion, a haughty hairstylist as well as a
“vaguely Slavic torturer,” ably supported by Mantzoukas, but clearly
Drysdale was the leader in the scene. At another point, she pulled off
an over-the-top Asian accent and somehow did so without being offensive.
Drysdale can also play on a more restrained level, as a student in a
dating “class,” noting offhandedly with black humor, “I hit 9/11 in the
date like you said, and he still didn’t like me…”
It’s truly a wonder how Drysdale’s mind works. She is the standout in
this group and it would be good to see her in a sketch or even solo show
-- or with improv players of the highest caliber.