The Sedaris Kids Hit Town
The Talent Family, otherwise known as brother and sister David and Amy Sedaris, have brought us “The Book of Liz,” a strange and sometimes funny play about the reclusive Squeamish sect in the community of Clusterhaven. The Squeamish men are bearded, stern fellows who are a little hard on their womenfolk who scurry about in long black dresses, support the community by growing chives and making cheeseballs and who travel the countryside by llama. Outsiders, chiefly recovering alcoholics, middle- European immigrants and gay men, most of whom work in a nearby Pilgrim-themed restaurant, are just as conforming in their own dress and practices as the Squeamish. But they are funnier. The play at Pittsfield’s New Stage Performing Arts Center above the Beacon Cinema, is peopled with interesting characters: Sister Elizabeth Donderstock, aka Liz (Diane Prusha), a dear woman who cannot subdue her perspiration, The Reverend Tollhouse (Ken De Loreto), a heedless martinet who aims to fire Miss Foxley who distributes the sect’s cheeseballs because she wears tube tops and is, thus, a bad influence.“But she’s got 12 Dobermans to support,” Liz tells him.“All by different fathers, I suppose,” the reverend replies.Then there is Brother Nathaniel Brightbee (Alex Reczkowski) who prefers work to sleep and a handful more of oddball characters whose job it is to push this slight piece along the road to final redemption. Prusha, the single pro in the cast, is an amazing actor who can squeeze some real humanity out of this farcical, but not terribly satisfying script. If you are a Talent Family fan, you will probably have a good time. But if slightly dated and sometimes juvenile satiredoes nothing for you, wait for New Stage’s next show for a trip to Pittsfield. “The Book of Liz” runs at New Stage in Pittsfield through July 24. For tickets: 413-418-0999 or go to www.newstageperforming arts.org.