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The Mamet Marathon: Binky Rudich or The Space Pandas, Goodman Theatre April 15, 2006

This production was a hoot, and a real antidote after a dark night of the soul in the Homecomings one-acts. The fun of the production is exemplified in the costume design by Tatjana Radisic—everyone had bright eclectic costumes, with always mismatched shoes, mainly high top tennis shoes in bright colors and mismatched high socks in great stripes.

The Mamet Marathon: Binky Rudich or The Space Pandas, April 14, 2006

This production was a hoot, and a real antidote after a dark night of the soul in the Homecomings one-acts. The fun of the production was particularly in the costume design by Tatjana Radisic—everyone had bright eclectic costumes, with always mismatched shoes, mainly high top tennis shoes in bright colors and mismatched high socks in great stripes.

The action was continuous and kept the audience of kids and adults fully entertained. The fun of it began with the set—a big table for Binky’s (Blaine Hogan) workbench, a chair for Bob the sheep (Eric Slater)—who had a wooly hat and jacket and a black tip on his nose. Best of all was Maribeth Monroe as Vivan Mooster as if played by Joan Cusick. The fun of performing the play in Chicago are the local references—a running joke about them all coming from Waukegan, and the planet they visit—Crestview—named in hopes of getting investors to come and buy property—interplanetary suburban sprawl.

The Mamet touch is evident as Binky et al get transported to Crestview, and then don’t know how to get back. But the first two people they meet, Space Pandas Buffy and Boots, assure them they can be sent back by a “Spatial Relocator” right after lunch, and no one will miss them.  Later, however, they get the same assurance from George Topaz and he is lying to them in order to capture Bob and make a letter sweater out of his wool. And it turns out the relocator doesn’t work anyway. So some people are helpers, some are malevolent, and there’s no way to tell who is who. Some will con you, some will help you. Edward Farpis does both, first trying to help them to escape, then turning them in, then disguising himself as a space panda to rescue them—there are a lot of reversals.