Being Audrey Mired in Nonsensical Whimsy
In his misguided chamber musical Being Audrey, book writer James Hindman introduces us to Claire (Cheryl Stern), a self-professed Jewish American Princess who has a lifelong obsession with a Hollywood goddess: Audrey Hepburn. When Claire's husband suffers a near-fatal heart attack, she retreats into fantasies about her idol's movies, imagining herself in scenes from movies like Sabrina and Funny Face. Joining her in this dissociative reverie is "Fred" (a stalwart Brian Sutherland), a bland composite of many of Hepburn's leading men. He's desperately trying to please his companion and guide her to her beloved Tiffany's.
Getting to the fabled store is, unsubtly, a metaphor for Claire's final visit to her dying spouse's bedside in ICU, and rather than being charming or bittersweet, there's an incredible "eww" factor to the affair. Despite Stern's game performance, watching this middle-aged woman cavorting like a teenager or twentysomething is embarrassing. Further, Claire's inability to focus on the tragedy at hand ultimately feels selfishly heartless. Director Jack Cummings III's manic staging only emphasizes the heavy-handedness of Hindman's attempts at blurring reality and fantasy. And though composer Ellen Weiss provides a few ear-catching tunes, they're not enough to elevate the nonsensical whimsy of the show.
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