Would dance have more impact on America if, as at the Flea’s downstairs space, people simply sat closer to it? Neta Pulvermacher’s The Orchid Show—with dramatically lit whimsical characters in outlandish costumes—certainly argues for that in-your-face strategy. The wide but extremely shallow performance area is separated from jury-box-style seating by a low barrier, a boundary violated several times over the course of the program. Expect to get way too good a look at the hair on Jeremy Laverdure’s legs as—attired in dress, pearls, and a lavender wig—he lip-synchs to Tami Stronach’s voice as Jill St. John, orchid enthusiast.
Blame the whole thing on Susan Orlean. Orchids are hot. The ones cavorting in this revived 2000-1 suite—an accomplished cast of singing dancers—don’t look like their namesakes, unless orchids wear hot-pink plastic skirts and patches of grass on their heads. (And explain dead-eyed, British-accented Jill St. John, please.) Of course, the latest installment—Jill in Brazil—sets the wayward flowers to samba-ing and tickles your funny bone without mercy.