Theater for the New City
Crystal Field Executive Director
A Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Production
FROM THE GUTTER TO THE GLITTER: A NIGHT OUT WITH THE BINDLESTIFFS
Produced by KEITH NELSON and STEPHANIE MONSEU
Writers, Conceivers, Cast: Keith Nelson, Stephanie Monseu, Peter Bufano
Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, NYC, February 24 through April 2, 2005
Directed by BARBARA KARGER and MICHAEL PRESTON
Musical Composition PETER BUFANO
Sound and Lighting Design KRIS ANTON
Publicist KAREN GRECO
Musicians PETER BUFANO, KÄTHE HOSTETTER and KEITH NELSON
Fire eating, sword swallowing, glass walking, whip cracking, one flying trapeze, several spinning tops and some truly skanky balloon tricks are just some of the events experienced during a performance of FROM THE GUTTER TO THE GLITTER. The Bindlestiffs describe the show as, "an intimate guided tour through the dark alleyways of American popular entertainment history…" in the program. While this statement exaggerates the scope of the show, it does present the intent of the creators accurately, as they attempt to expose the audience to the evolving genre of "illegitimate" theater.
The Bindlestiff’s peculiar penchant for performing their fabulous (or not so fabulous, depending on your perspective and comfort level) feats with a sense of both humor and historical perspective make FROM THE GUTTER TO THE GLITTER accessible in a modern side show with a smirk sort of way. Underneath it all, producers/performers Nelson and Monseu, as alter egos Mr. Pennygaff and Philomena, are skilled performers who are themselves evolving within their own entertainment niche. Certainly not the most gifted circus folk I have ever witnessed, they have a dark charm that exalts those illegitimate roots they so proudly celebrate.
Not for a crowd expecting flash and fury and funny clowns in tiny cars, FROM THE GUTTER TO THE GLITTER is nuts and bolts stuff that plays like a travelogue of fringe performances of yore. There is plenty here to keep an affable audience engaged, and perhaps amazed, in a somewhat unsettling sort of way. If nothing else, you will leave feeling that what you have seen was genuine. No smoke and mirrors here.
- Kessa De Santis -
Archives Listings From the Archives: The Bindlestiffs in HIGH HEELS AND RED NOSES