Off-Broadway Review: “Bright Colors and Bold Patterns” at SoHo Playhouse

Joseph Verlezza

The production currently playing at SoHo Playhouse entitled “Bright Colors and Bold Patterns” is a self-absorbed, ostentatious, and highly opinionated rant penned by Drew Droege who also holds court on stage for the eighty-minute overwrought outburst. The premise for the tirade is receiving an invitation to his friend’s gay wedding that states guests should eschew from wearing bright colors or bold patterns to the affair. This begins the tantrum that suggests the reason for this distinction is to challenge gay choices and lifestyles and sway the gay community to blend into mainstream society and emulate a heteronormative culture. Could it possibly be that the couple wanted a certain “look,” similar to the era of gay “white” or “black” parties, among other specific requirements for certain events? This escalates to the issue of gay marriage and the reasons why the solo character Gerry (played with pretentious gay demeanor by Mr. Droege) believes it is not necessary, even after the long brutal fight to legalize to protect the rights of members of the Gay community.

The script delivers a one-sided point of view eschewing all the paramount issues that made this civil rights issue necessary including discrimination, taxes, health insurance and hospital visiting rights.

The action starts as Gerry arrives at a Palm Beach house the day before the wedding and joins other guests who have already arrived (and are invisible to the audience) sitting around the pool. They include Gerry’s ex and his new boyfriend. What moves the plot forward is the consumption of plenty of alcohol which then accelerates to drugs enabling the rambling fiasco to thrive. The dialogue of quick witted repartee, consists of insults, abusive humor and innuendos that are dated and trivial adding nothing to the dimension of the character or movement of the plot. It almost seems as though it may be a stand- up comedy routine with humor that escapes you even before you stop laughing. The main character seems alone (and lonely), angry and somewhat depressed, using his vitriolic humor to mask his feelings. It is a sad portrayal and a poor representation of gay men in contemporary American society.

Set design by Dara Wishingrad is very colorful, crowded and adds to the timber of the production. Director Michael Urie keeps the evening moving at a rapid pace which helps hide the scripts imperfections. The attempt of a dramatic, meaningful ending is too little, too late and seems incongruous to the previous body of the work. If you (gay or straight) enjoy sarcastic, bitchy gay humor with absolutely no substance this might be a great way to spend the evening.



“Bright Colors And Bold Patterns” continues its Off Broadway at SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, between 6th Avenue and Varick Street in Manhattan), with the new star Jeff Hiller assuming the role of Gerry.

Tickets start at $59.00. The performance schedule and further information are available at Running time is 1 hour and 20 minutes without intermission.

Photo: Drew Droege in “Bright Colors and Bold Patterns.” Credit: Russ Rowland.