Molly's Reviews

DancingDancing on the Barricades
John Coriolan
GLB Publishers
Interesting Read Recommended . 4 stars

On board the 9:30 am subway, New York City, dancer Ray Vincent ruminates about his life, dancing, dancers he has known, partners who have come and gone through his life, various sites, Broadway and other perhaps smaller theaters where his dancing has been conducted and his latest upcoming gig. Vincent is joining a touring troupe being put together by a long time friend. When not on tour Vincent works as a waiter in Tony Jerrico's 'Cucina' restaurant.

Theodora Arkona, dancer, is determined to take a troupe of dancers on a tour of the United States where they will break down barriers against nudity and other arcane notions. Ray Vincent is to be a part of the troupe, both to help with the production and to dance. Theo's dad Eddie will choreograph the work, Vincent will serve as Stage Manager. Maggie Linley, agent, dancers Suzann Schwartz, Christopher Tandy, Theo's secretary Mrs. Spencer, stage manager Timmie Todd all take active roles in the work. Vincent is mugged, left for dead and ends up in the hospital as the troupe continues across the United States.

Written in first person each of the various characters is allotted a chapter or more in which they contemplate life in general and their own individual agenda in particular. First person is often a difficult trick to pull off well and is most likely my least favorite type of presentation; however, writer Coriolan achieves his goal with mastery. The desire to break down social taboo against nudity, repression, and inhibition runs through each of the chapters. Playwright turned novelist Coriolan taught drama and English at both high school and college level as well as being deeply immersed in the New York City theater crowd for many years.

Filled with strong motivations, at times paradoxical characters, intertwine and spins "Dancing on the Barricades" presents a pleasantly puzzling glimpse into the life of a group of people who have known one another and worked together in one capacity or another for many years. Writer Coriolan's qualification in the theater field is plainly shown in this deftly presented capturing of the essence of spirit found in the people, politics and turmoil found during the producing of a viable stage product. Each of the characters presented on the pages of "Dancing on the Barricades" is well fleshed completed with their individual set of idiosyncrasies, lumps and foibles.

Effective well-drawn dialog is cleverly presented, masterfully engineered, skillfully interwoven across the individual 'musings' presented by each player. True to the 'blunt language shock the reader' genre, "Dancing on the Barricades" is not for everyone. On the other hand those who enjoy the genre will find much to enjoy in writer Coriolan's work.




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2005 by Molly Martin