CLOUD 9, Saint Ed, at the Chopin Theatre. Saint Ed does not want for enthusiasm. This pack of eager beavers opened two shows, The Dumb Waiter and Cloud 9, five days apart, using the same director and shared cast members. When not trudging off to various day jobs, they run the Chopin Cafe. One wonders if the company's mission statement includes world domination.
All that work suggests admirable stamina, but it seems to have left Saint Ed without adequate time to explore the plays. Like their production of The Dumb Waiter, this Cloud 9 is rather hasty and superficial, more concerned with getting the words in the right order than with exploring the depths--and style--of the script. Set in Victorian colonial Africa and 1980s London, Caryl Churchill's riotous romp through the minefield of Western sexual politics offers all manner of opportunity for outrageous social satire: the Victorian husband revolted by his wife's infidelity when he's not shtupping his next-door neighbor, the bounding African explorer who enjoys an occasional hand job from his ten-year-old nephew, the hyperliberated boor who says he's "writing a novel about women from the women's point of view." But Saint Ed plays it all quite safe, turning Churchill's biting farce into a solemn, introspective quasi comedy with gums instead of fangs.