With a minimalist set and a shoestring budget, Pandora Productions nevertheless delivers a fun-filled evening of enthusiastically performed skits depicting the joy and pathos of four men trying to find love and acceptance in a community that is “not communal.” Although the musical revue is gay-themed, its message is one all can relate to — the need to find that special someone to share one’s life with. The men learn, however, that hoping to bump into Mr. Right while shopping for tchotchkes is ultimately unsatisfying.
The show runs the gamut of gay male experience — from enduring schoolyard taunts to coping with the fear of “coming out.” The actors harmonize beautifully, and their comic timing is nearly flawless. Although not credited as a cast member, Gayle King provides comic relief while providing musical accompaniment. Jay Hemphill steals the show as Horace, the flibberty-gibberty flight attendant who guides us on our “flight.” He is stellar throughout, but especially in the Waters-esque “Wedding Monologue,” dreaming of his bridal train that stretches into the next zip code.
The one sour note of the evening was Dewey Caddell’s mugging as a gay screenplay instructor. In this unfunny scene, Caddell appears to be channeling Zero Mostel in a tedious, gay-focused re-telling of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Michael Drury cleverly portrays a naive, mulleted hillbilly new to Chelsea. His landlord supervises the business of “Queer Eye-ing” the hick as he’s remade into a J. Crew-wearing clone. JC Nixon manages to jerk a tear or two from the audience in a heartfelt monologue that gives props to those who blazed a trail for gay rights during the ’60s and ’70s. “Bed, Boys & Beyond” leaves the audience with an upbeat message of hope that the day will surely come when one’s sexual orientation really matters not. The cast and crew enjoyed a well-deserved standing ovation.
BY SHERRY DEATRICK