Fifedom II: Parodies Lost, Side Project, at the Side Studio. Playwright Michael R. Fife’s old-time radio script and spoofs of two classic plays make for an amusing evening. The weakest link is The Three Shiksas, which doesn’t really parody Chekhov’s Three Sisters but simply transplants four characters from the play into a tragically boring Hanukkah celebration. Their blunt statements of disappointment and complaints about life coupled with a dispirited “we must go on” mantra can be funny, but the monotonous misery leaves us as “bored, bored, bored” as Masha.
More entertaining is A Doll’s Condo (also directed by Adam Webster), which plays up the mindlessness of Ibsen’s heroine and the misogyny of her times. Fife also adds self-aware, hilarious commentary mocking similarities between A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler. Some of the contemporary banter can be grating, but Nikki Neumann is winningly dim as Thora, Lane is sharp as her friend Pristine, and Natalie Klesko makes a big impression in brief appearances as Hadda Gobbler (these three also work well together as the shiksas).
The show ends on a positive note with the peppy radio play, Poor Pitiful Pamela Pureparts’ Pernicious Perils. The sound effects aren’t always immediately identifiable, but John Zinn, Anne-Marie Welty, Lane, and Jimmy McDermott (who also directs) perform a great range of voices with a zeal that gives real punch to this 40-minute story of peril, plotting, and passion.