- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 9, 2002

"Hexagon 2002: It's a Grand Old Gag" offers a few laughs with a cause.

Hexagon is an all-volunteer local group that presents original material. Although the community-service aspect of the satirical musical revue is praiseworthy this year's performances benefit the Hospices of the National Capital Region in Fairfax and Hospice Caring Inc. in Gaithersburg the show doesn't offer as much humor as it should.

Some things aren't funny in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

For instance, the audience offered stale applause during the third number, "Good Old Days," when Willy LaHood, Betsy Libretta, Tami Mendelson and Linda Wilson sang of a time when "flights were full and you booked ahead."

The seventh number, "Where's Dick?" was in the same vein. It poked fun at Vice President Dick Cheney, who was hidden away for a time after September 11 in case something happened to President Bush.

In response to Mr. Bush's call for Americans to resume their lives as normal, the song "Business Is Still Business" features women running across the stage, acting as prostitutes, holding signs saying "God Breast America."

"Movie Wizards" offers a change of tone. This song pokes fun at the similarity of fantasy movies such as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," saying, "If you want to rent a different movie, rent the 'Wizard of Oz.'"

"Hell, No" provided enthusiastic audience participation, when Deborah Davidson, Blake Grobe, Neil McElroy and Jennifer Strand asked the crowd to chant after their comments, which included making fun of the Department of Motor Vehicles, the stock market, one-hour parking in the Washington area and rush-hour traffic.

The audience applauded the most for morale-raising numbers, such as "We Are One." The song offered a patriotic spirit with cast members kicking their legs high and imitating the Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The men of the company also provided a chuckle when they attempted to be Rockettes during "A Kick in the Tail."

The "Finale" offered the most hopeful note, when cast members sang, "Don't give up, don't give in … we shall work, we shall pray, pray for peace, we are strong, we are free, we remain the land of opportunity."

Also, for the rest of the performances, which run until March 23, technicians should be aware that the musicians often overshadow the vocal solos by performers.


**

WHAT: "Hexagon 2002: It's a Grand Old Gag"

WHERE: Duke Ellington School of the Arts, 35th and R streets NW

WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2:30 Sundays, through March 23

TICKETS: $20 to $25

PHONE: 202/333-SHOW

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS


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