"Girl, you got to get out of this neighborhood," Frances exclaims when she learns someone has broken a window at her friend Aggie's Mid-City lounge. Crime and other obstacles to peaceful existence in the Big Easy get the audience rolling with laughter through much of Ricky Graham's perennial favorite, ...And the Ball and All.
The play follows the Krewe of Terpsichore, a women's Carnival organization brought to life by Becky Allen, Rebecca Taliancich, Tracey Collins, Mandy Zirkenbach, Gogo Borgerding and Amanda Hebert. The Ball debuted in 1995 (the year in which it's set) and had a long initial run. The outrageous, affectionate chronicle of y'at social custom must be imbued with immortal energies, because it keeps coming back and audiences still love it.
Much of the humor grows out of local references. The krewe members gossip, especially when one of them leaves the room, and they don't merely say the absent friend has gained weight, but "She's got more rolls than McKenzie's."
Humor drives the play more than plot, but at its core, The Ball is a y'at comedy of manners, or a comedy of ill-manners. It's a remarkable and enduring achievement for writer/director Graham and the krewe.
... And The Ball and All
Directed by Ricky Graham
Starring Becky Allen, Amanda Hebert, Tracey Collins, Mandy Zirkenbach and Rebecca Taliancich
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., March 13-14; 6 p.m. Sun., March 15
Le Chat Noir, 715 St. Charles Ave., 581-5812; www.cabaretlechatnoir.com