Some Kind of Pink Breakfast
nytheatre.com review by Kimberly Wadsworth
August 12, 2006
About five minutes into Chris Harcum's Some Kind Of Pink Breakfast, I realized that I have personally never been more of a target audience for a particular piece.
Inspired by a visit to a class reunion website, Harcum's solo show relates a story from his sophomore year in high school back in 1986. Harcum has a lot of fun with the '80s angle, sprinkling affectionate references throughout—he's given his high school friends pseudonyms like "Dweezil" and "Sister Christian," he mentions going to see Pretty In Pink with someone for a first date, and he describes one character's confusion by saying "they looked like they'd tried to see Dune without bringing a dictionary." As a fellow geek contemplating whether to attend her high school reunion for the class of '88 (and who still has her Joshua Tree concert t-shirt), I related to a lot of the references.
The piece isn't just an '80s kitsch fest, however. The references are there to soften the blow of a sometimes poignant—and apparently true—story of a very awkward first romance between two outsiders, and how a relationship with a very troubled girl quickly overwhelmed the 15-year-old Harcum. It's a comment about how the happy, perky image we have of high school doesn't even come close to the chaotic and confusing reality that many of us faced—and ultimately survived.
Under the direction of Bricken Sparacino, Harcum nimbly takes on numerous characters in the piece; at any given moment, he could be playing himself, his friend Dweezil, his girlfriend Molly, his mother, the bully who beats him up on the bus, or a cranky retiree who cares only about whether that Harcum kid delivers the newspaper on time. His energy is so contagious that the audience I was with eagerly played along when he asked us all to join him in performing the famous "flashback effect" from "Wayne's World" at the top of the show. Harcum has just as much fun playing along with the audience; the day I saw the show, he couldn't resist "breaking character" a few times to ad lib an extra comment in response to the audience's reaction.
This is a show for everyone who survived adolescence, but if you have a red leather tie, a "Members Only" jacket, or an oversized pastel sweatshirt lurking in your closet, you'll get a little extra out of it.