nytheatre.com review by Richard Hinojosa
September 1, 2005
It’s easy to believe that Meital Dohan is a star in Israel. She is exceedingly beautiful (super hot would be more accurate) and she has all the qualities of a diva. She is magnetic and eccentric and undeniably talented. But all of this matters little to her because she has a dream—a dream of success in America.
American culture is pushed worldwide and when Dohan got her first taste of it (in the form of a Big Mac) she was hooked. True to form, she saw the "M" of the golden arches as standing for "Meital" rather than McDonald’s. However, despite her success in Israel when she finally moved to America she found herself to be a small fish in a very large pond. She tries to relate her struggles with those of any other immigrant, but her self-involvement overshadows any emotion that the audience might feel for her plight.
Bath Party is about Meital Dohan and everything else plays second fiddle, including any universal themes, emotional connections, and most certainly her subordinate actors Susan Hyon and PJ Mehaffey. And that’s just fine with me because Meital is certainly an interesting character.
The show has no discernable plot. It seems to simply follow her whims and the audience is just along for the ride. I think that’s what I liked most about Bath Party, I felt as if I had climbed into a car with a stranger who took me around town running errands before dropping me at my destination.
Dohan is a good actress and I’d love to see what she does with a role that is not all about her. Her singing could use a little polish but it is nonetheless entertaining. And her dancing is so cute and the space so intimate that I felt like I was watching someone get their groove on at a club. Director Karen Shefler deserves a nod for her consistently alluring use of the space and placement of bits that add a rich texture to the show’s look and feel. PJ Mehaffey is very funny is his role of a gay Texan stage manager and Susan Hyon does an amazing 360 in her role as the subservient Korean masseuse.
There are a lot of short film pieces spliced into the show and Dohan interacts directly with the characters on screen. There are also several really snappy tunes courtesy of musician Nir Z, and the choreographers Caron Eule and Jennifer Archibald use his beats to create some tantalizing dance numbers.
In the end I would recommend Bath Party because it’s fun. There’s no thinking or feeling involved—just straight up entertainment. The show is as charming as its star and that’s a lot of charm for one little show.