Dense and potent new drama from the Negro Ensemble Company Trixie True, Teen Detective
New York — Musical comedy with book, music, and lyrics by Kelly Hamilton. Directed by Bill Gile. Apparently no season worth its theater stubs would be considered complete without at least one campy spoof of an earlier generation and its foolish ways. Kelly Hamilton honors the genre with "Trixie True, Teen Detective," the intimate but obviously expensive new musical at Lucille Lortel's Theater De Lys. As his own librettist, composer, and lyricist, Mr. Hamilton has served up a double scoop of spoof or a spoof-within-a-spoof.
"Trixie True" concerns not only Trixie, her chums, and her sleuthing, but also the spunky heroine's creators: Joe Sneed (Gene Lindsay), a hack writer with delusions of Chandler, and his tyrannical boss lady, Miss Snood (Marilyn Sokol). In Joe's fantastic plotting, Miss Snood becomes Madame Olga, a Nazi spy masquerading as a tap-dancing teacher, a device that rewards the quick-changing Miss Sokol with a dual comedy role.
Perhaps "rewards" is the wrong word. For although mingling a takeoff of the Nancy Drew mystery novels with memories of World War II and the 1940s possesses some amusing potentials, they are exploited more for campy giggles than for witty comment. Except for some innuendos involving Madame Olga's transvestite espionage aide, the fun centers around the innocent, indefatigable Trixie (Kathy Andrini), her boyfriend (Keith Rice), her cheering chums (Alison Bevan and Marianna Allen), and her perilous detainment in a Nazi submarine by Olga and Wilhelm (Jay Lowman).
Under Bill Gile's direction, the cast responds with a will to Mr. Hamilton's comic conceits and rather bland musical score.