Saturday, September 8, 2018

And You Can Dance

High-brow, meet low-brow and let's call it a night.

The farting sounds were straight out of "Blazing Saddles," while the whinny came directly from "Young Frankenstein." Mel Brooks provided God's voice at the end.

Naturally, I'm talking about Firehouse Theatre's production of Moliere's 1673 comedy, "The Imaginary Invalid," shortened to "Invalid" for modern-day audiences.

It wasn't tough to get the manse gang on board for M & Ms: a meal at Metzger followed by a play combining Moliere and Mel Brooks. What fan of high and low could pass on that combo?

We started at the crack of evening, so Metzger was empty, with all the shades down against the heat of the western sky. But seated at the front table nearest the window, it was still a tad warm, a condition we battled with Seehof Rose and a discussion of how - gasp! - Pru is sometimes willing to leave the Loire Valley when it's for a Rose of Pinot Noir.

With vintage, obscure soul music playing, the three of us played pass-the-plate with a succession of scrumptious ddishes. Giving new life to late summer zucchini, the kitchen had charred it and added quark, chopped almonds, preserved lemon, chili and mint so everyone wanted a piece of it. Thick slices of golden beets under radicchio, roasted grapes and hazelnuts became sublime thanks to dollops of Gorgonzola's triple cream cousin, Cambozola.

With a nod to one of Pru's favorite drinks, cured steelhead trout was gussied up with gin, cucumber, wax beans, roe and the German version of salsa verde, gruene sosse. Beau's black bass was out of this world fresh tasting and I ate as much as I could without risking him giving me the stinkeye for bogarting his fish.

A dark chocolate torte with blueberry, cardamom and milk crumble accompanied Beau's No Regrets cocktail - cognac, dark and blackstrap rum, Falernum, pineapple - which Pru dubbed a dead ringer for Bermuda's national drink, the Rum Swizzle. She should know, having slurped through multiple pitchers of them during her extensive time in Bermuda over the years.

All I know is, I'd happily drink Rum Swizzles here or there. In a chair or in a lair. Anywhere, preferably from a pitcher so I'd be assured of more than just one. Now I have to question how I managed to vacation in Bermuda without discovering the Swizzle's seductive power.

Pleasantly replete, we returned to the manse to pick up Queen B, who'd skipped dinner to await the arrival of Sweetie Pie, a street dog she rescued in Mexico and who has since become her devoted canine companion, from the vet.

With our party complete, we settled in at Firehouse for "Invalid," which began with comedian Slash Coleman, dressed all in white, leading us through a series of laugh exercises to prepare us for what was to come: neuroses, nuptials and number two.

Let's just say I can assure you of more passing of gas than you've ever seen in a play before.

The rebooted version of Moliere - satisfyingly still spoken in couplets - featured much hilarious dialog about enemas (the invalid's preferred treatment method), an improvised opera and a pair of lusty young lovers, along with a serious helping of mispronounced names ("It's Cleante!") and a man playing the role of the invalid's wife for maximum comedic affect.

Adding to the play's charm was the set with a door set into a wall that leaned forward at a precipitous angle, sort of an Alice-in-Wonderland effect heightened when people came in and out of it. Tres cool.

Queen B, Pru and I laughed unabashedly throughout while Beau found less to tickle his fancy. Given that we'd just learned that he's never read or seen Ibsen's "A Doll's House," perhaps he's just not the literary fan the womenfolk are. Because I know he's the type to enjoy a good fart joke.

We closed out the night on Pru's screened porch, but only after admiring her latest DIY project, an eye-catching gold compass she'd hand painted after painting the bathroom floor black. The question had been whether or not to paint the compass so the markers were correct, but she'd opted for aligning the directionals with the walls in the petite bathroom, a choice that made perfect sense once I sat down on the toilet.

No one wants the north arrow pointing at her left thigh, after all. Better it points at the sink.

As we sat on the screened porch with the sounds of Church Hill at night all around us - train whistles, voices, cars creeping down the alley - the conversation inevitably turned to the upcoming beach week and the interesting crew who will populate Pru's beach house this year. Besides Beckham and the Beauty, one of the guests, Hotdog, is coming all the way from Arizona to amuse us with his droll and dire observations, so it looks to be a party.

"Hotdog loves to dance!" Pru reminded us again. And Beckham has offered to dazzle us with his masterful cooking skills. Personally, I'm going for Pru's surfside champagne happy hours as part of my beach farewell for the year.

And if there'll be pitchers of Rum Swizzles (insert sound of horse whinnying) to accompany that dance party, all the better.

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