this is heaven to me choreographed by Danny Grossman, with Eddie Kastrau, Paul DeAdder, Gérald Michaud, Ray Hogg, Andrea Nann, Pamela Grundy and Meredith Thompson at Buddies in Bad Times (12 Alexander). Runs to March 10, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm. $15-$18. 416-975-8555. Rating: NN Rating: NNNNN
is choreographer danny gross- man losing his touch? It's worth asking after seeing his This Is Heaven To Me, a new work that's upstaged by the older pieces on the bill.
Set in a men's washroom in an art-deco-furnished train station, Grossman's latest looks at a lonely janitor (a moving Grald Michaud) who imagines getting it on with an idealized Greek god (Eddie Kastrau, clearly embarrassed to be clad in gold loincloth).
Despite some effective carnal choreography early on, and an inspired use of a lowly floor mop and two plungers, the piece never comes together, probably because Grossman doesn't know what tone he's after. Dionysian romp? Social commentary? Take your pick.
His biggest mistake is using water nymphs, underused camp figures who prance around like extras in an Esther Williams film. At times they morph into many-armed Indian deities, but to what purpose? To show that eastern religions are more tolerant of sexuality than western ones?
Darren Copeland's soundscape is appropriately eerie, and is responsible for much of the work's shifting moods, as is Bonnie Beecher's lighting. More effective choreography comes in the program's first section, with Grossman's biggest strengths -- athletic grace and whimsical sassiness -- on display.
His 1989 piece Twisted, confidently sexy scenes inspired by doctors and blues music, is the standout.
If only the rest of the show were as entertaining.GLENN SUMI