When Margie Boulé as Diana Vreeland declares, "I only want beautiful things," you believe her. After all, the set that surrounds her in Triangle Productions' Full Gallop is an overwhelming display of color and pattern, with red walls, red furniture and an eclectic mixture of Western, African and Asian art.
Set in 1971, Full Gallop zooms in on a particular moment of international fashion icon Diana Vreeland's life. She has returned from a four month trip to Europe after being fired from her long tenure as Vogue's editor-in-chief, and is planning a dinner party inviting some of her famous acquaintances. The play has a tinge of sadness amidst its comic moments—especially considering that her guests never show up. It's like a funnier Mrs. Dalloway, without the PTSD.
Boulé's one-woman performance is a loving portrayal of the late great fashion editor and her excessive love of life and everything beautiful. She conveys a sense of vibrancy with an infectious, head-thrown-back laugh. Boulé continuously moves and talks, often while doing more than one thing at a time, like picking up the phone only to move across the room and sit down to light a cigarette. Still, other than her particular sense of humor, you don't really get a sense of Vreeland's eccentricity from Boulé's performance. Vreeland seemed to be a caricature of the editorial hot-shot fashionista, although as one of the first truly famous fashion editors, perhaps she created the trope.
Unfortunately, there's only so much name-dropping and anecdotes that actually build up Vreeland's character. As a result, the interspersed psychological analysis of what led her to be so interested in fashion and beauty—a childhood where her beautiful mother told her how ugly she was compared to her sister—ends up feeling a bit of an afterthought. But if you have nostalgia for earlier ages of fashion, you will probably find Full Gallop, as Vreeland might say, "absolutely marvelous."
SEE IT: Full Gallop plays at The Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza, 1785 NE Sandy Blvd., trianglepro.org. 7:30 pm Thursday-Friday, through Oct. 8, 2 pm Oct. 2, no show Friday, Sept. 30. $15-$35.