Viva Bourgeois: Written by Molière. Adapted and directed by Paul Tei. With Erik Fabregat, Erin Joy Schmidt, Joe Kimble, Yvonne Azurdia, Troy Davidson, Matthew Chapman, George Schiavone, Caitlin Geier, Betsy Graver, and Tracey Barrow-Schoenblatt. Through August 22. Mad Cat Theatre Company at the Light Box, 3000 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets cost $30. 305-576-6377; madcattheatre.org
The other problem is Viva's cruelty. Even after thinking about it for two days, I am uncertain whether Viva Bourgeois is making fun of Elvis Presley or if its targets are the forces that drove him mad — those same jealous, classist forces that would cause biographer Albert Goldman, through a haze of smug schadenfreude, to write of Elvis's loathing for his "ugly hillbilly pecker" and to refer to the King's clan as "deracinated," as though deracination were a moral failing. If Viva Bourgeois is having a go at those forces, then bravo. If, however, it is their latest manifestation, then boo. It is too easy to have a whack at Elvis, and it would be too easy for future productions of this play to turn him into a crude and unfeeling parody. When he refuses to allow his daughter to marry the self-made Leon, insisting that she marry a born gentleman instead, it is only Erik Fabregat's warm, silly acting that keeps us from hating the guy.
Thankfully, Fabregat is not going anywhere, and he'll redeem every under-workshopped second of this promising little play with his twitching hips and Kingly vibrato. There will be time enough, after this run, for Tei to excise hunks of Molière's fine but needless intrigue, leaving us a Viva Bourgeois that's a little less conversation and a little more action.