Red Orchid’s ‘Megacosm’ is a product under development

As we take our seats at A Red Orchid Theatre’s production of Brett Neveu’s new play, Megacosm, a high-strung inventor (Larry Grimm) nervously twitches and blinks as he prepares for some sort of secret meeting. He has a new product that will change the face of the world as we know it (or so he claims), yet his pitch keeps hitting distracted ears as his potential customer, a blowhard business executive (Danny McCarthy), bolts around the boardroom like a caged rat.

After much hype, the audience eagerly awaits to see this product. And when it’s eventually revealed … well, let’s just say it makes stem cell research seem like child’s play.

Meanwhile, some sort of revolution’s happening outside. We know this because menacing explosions keep interrupting Neveu’s compact dialogue.

Neveu’s succinct play moves from entertaining to outlandish. His cutting commentary on the misdirected (read: deeply unethical) focus of corporate America is sidelined by a scene-stealing visual gag (I’m being intentionally vague here) that, for me, dilutes his point to meaninglessness.

While there are many wonderful one-liners and fine performances, what else does Neveu have to say about our consumer-driven lifestyle that hasn’t been said to death? I mean, its not even two months into the theatre season, and already I’m seeing three other shows on the subject (The Ghost is Here at DCA Theatre, Enron at TimeLine Theatre, Love and Money at Steep). If you’re going to shoot some fish, make sure the barrel is at least remarkable.

The audience seemed to enjoy themselves on opening night, but I think Neveu could take this featherweight piece even further. Or, as they’d say in corporate America, the product needs more R&D time.

“Megacosm” plays through February 26 at A Red Orchid Theatre. More info here >

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