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Spoof Troupe

April 25, 1999|Paul Lieberman

Wendy Perrin has this ombudsman column in Conde Nast Traveler magazine, so it was no surprise, really, that the Fodor's people thought to make a book of it, "Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know." As to why Perrin's brother, Scott, thought the idea would survive the trip to Broadway, or just off it . . . that's anyone's guess.

But the clever, funny cabaret show "Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know" has been flying for 1 1/2 years, now at the Ibis supper club in Manhattan. Four singers, a bassist and a piano player take you through a blooper reel of travel nightmares: the baggage snafu that leaves you "naked in Pittsburgh," the touch-tone reservation system on Miracle Airlines ("If it's a good flight, it's a miracle") and the cruise that's one endless buffet ("I may not keep it down/But I never miss a round"). Oh, the Venice canals are sinking, the tower you-know-where is leaning ("more and more each day") and why does that customs man keep bugging you about those harmless "monkey droppings from Zaire"?

In the best Barnum tradition, Perrin the producer has kept the show going in part with stunts: half-price admission for anyone bumped from a flight; discounts for pilots and flight attendants; and--when she's on the road--piped-in audio reports from Perrin the travel writer. And now they've taken the whole show on the road, with companies in Key West, Fla., and Rochester, N.Y. In the works: Boston, Orlando, Portland, Seattle and others.

"Can you imagine," Scott Perrin asks, "why no one has ever thought of this before?"


Ibis Dinner Theatre, 327 W. 44th St., New York; (212) 239-6200. Performances nightly except Tuesdays; matinees Sundays and Wednesdays; tickets $50 to $55.

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