Tuesday, June 4, 2013

American Stage's "Mammoths" disappoints in St. Petersburg

   Despite an intriguing title and direction by the supremely talented Karla Hartley, the current show at American Stage is a mess. Even worse, it's a bore.
   "7 Homeless Mammoths Wander New England" is billed as "an academic sex comedy," but it's painfully unfunny. It's also at least an hour too long and three of its six characters are extraneous.
   The basic story has to do with a lesbian couple, a middle-aged college dean and a student -- who invite the dean's former lover to live with them while she deals with cancer.
   That part's not too bad, but it's interrupted by long stupid monologues from two cave people in a diorama, and puzzling, endless segments in which a man reads aloud wedding announcements and city council minutes out of a newspaper.
   The titular mammoths are fossils on display at a museum at the college. They're obviously a metaphor for something, but for what is never made clear.
   It runs through June 30 at American Stage, 163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. $29-$49. (727) 823-7529, www.americanstage.org.

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