By Lawrence Van Gelder.
Published March 27, 2002.
Review can be found at
nytimes.com (free registration required)
Inflation Returns. Man Blows Self Up Onstage.
Headlines like those can indeed be cause for rejoicing because they summarize the delightful show that is bouncing around the New Victory Theater like the most effervescent of spring tonics.
The attraction, through April 14, is the Fred Garbo Inflatable Theater Company, and for audiences of all ages who missed Mr. Garbo and Daielma Santos at the New Victory in 1998, here is another chance to sample the airy antics that these inventive new vaudevillians conjure mainly out of bobbing blobs.
Those blobs are made of colorful parachute silk that turns up onstage as cubes and squares, cylinders and wheels of varying sizes that, with or without someone inside, can be animated to float or tumble, wiggle like a caterpillar, hover at the stage edge, roll, glide, slide and be pinched and puckered to resemble a face. The effect is like watching a live-action cartoon and occasionally being permitted to get in on the routine when those blobs float over the audience or reach out and snatch a shoe.
Besides such giggle-inducing activities, the Fred Garbo Inflatable Theater Company generates deserved applause when it shows off Mr. Garbo's prowess as a juggler, acrobat and mime (his escalator routine is first rate) and Ms. Santos' talents as an all-around dancer (from ballet to cancan) and comedian.
And she can juggle, too.
Their creations include a dog called Puff the Air-Dale and Fred Zeplin. The latter comes to life when Mr. Garbo, inside a parachute-silk suit, blows himself up, reproportioning his body so that his head appears like a ridiculously tiny ball atop a bloated body that proceeds to lead the audience in a clap-along song while performing acrobatics and balancing routines. There's a Ms. Zeplin as well.
Backed by music that ranges from Latin to the Blues Brothers, Mr. Garbo and Ms. Santos transmit a steady stream of fun. For the audience, the experience is -- what's the word? -- buoyant.
FRED GARBO INFLATABLE THEATER COMPANY
Stage manager, Nate Cooper; lighting by Dave Feldman. Presented by the New 42nd Street. At the New Victory Theater, 209 West 42nd Street, Manhattan.
WITH: Fred Garbo and Daielma Santos.