They give you free popcorn as you go in, free bingo cards and markers when they seat you, and free cake as you leave. If you’re lucky, you can win five bucks. (I didn’t, but this is not a sore loser’s bad review: Bribes only start affecting me at the six-figure level.) If Bingo celebrates anything, it’s American materialism. Granted, the inane story is set up to preach the opposite (don’t let your greed blind you to friendship), but it’s so bumpily and interruptively told that if you let your mind stray for a second—and it will be tempted—you’ll have a hard time remembering who blamed whom for what.
The mystery of Bingo is how a piece so lame and a production so ramshackle have lucked into such a wonderful cast: Klea Blackhurst, Chevi Colton, Liz Larsen, Beth Malone, Liz McCartney, Janet Metz, and Patrick Ryan Sullivan. They can’t just be doing it for the popcorn an Off-Broadway salary buys these days. They must think that in signing on they’ve drawn a winning card. If our performers had an acumen to match their abilities, then we could say our musical theater was to be and not just B-2.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 22, 2005