Show Business Weekly says …
Summer Shapiro and Peter Musante are two talented clowns. In Legs and All, they ditch words in favor of a breathtaking physical vocabulary and weave a story that’s poetic, sweet and utterly mesmerizing. The action revolves around a blue wooden box that’s seemingly bottomless, like Mary Poppins’s carpet bag. The limber performers lurk inside, invisible, then out creep fingers, arms, legs, heads and whole bodies. In the first scene, Shapiro pops up, gobbles up a flower, rotates as if she’s spinning on a record player, and retreats back into the box.
Billed as “a magical look at the mundane,” Legs, the brainchild of San Francisco-based Shapiro, is the story of a man and a woman who fit each other perfectly but just don’t know it yet: they play games and trick, tease and try to outsmart one another. Shapiro is hidden in the box, and her writhing arm is outstretched, begging for an orange ball; when Musante won’t hand it over, her arm slinks away, sad and rejected. He searches for her in the box, and she grabs him, pulling him in. It’s hard to take your eyes off this pair: They move with such masterful precision and speak with just a flicker of the eyes, a wry smile, or a wriggling finger. And they’re adorable, too: She’s alluring in a full red skirt; he’s boyish and charming in long shorts and suspenders.
As this French-flavored show develops, the box undergoes some very creative transformations. When it’s covered with a checkered tablecloth, it becomes a restaurant table; she struts around a little cockily and fires sugar cubes at him, which he catches in his glass; he fires sugar cubes back at her, which she easily catches in her mouth. There’s an affecting moment when the table is turned on its side and the performers contort their bodies to mirror the upside down tray of food. Suddenly, we’re caught in a kind of parallel universe where time feels suspended. A sophisticated bluegrass score and skillful lighting design heighten every mood.
In the show’s climax, a few words are finally uttered. He tells her she’s got cake on her face; she’s horrified, but they reassure each other that everything’s fine, working themselves up into a delightful, euphoric state of relief. Finally, under the spotlight of a swaying overhead lamp, there’s a beautiful moment of discovery when the two recognize that they like each other. Legs and All is a spellbinding 50 minutes of theater, an innovative work that captures the ups and downs of human relationships with childlike energy and perfect comic timing.
Review by Lucy Butcher