Peter Allen was right when he reported that "Everything Old is New Again" as proved by The Boxer, now at the Connelly Theatre. This live presentation of a silent film unfolds on stage before a screen on which dialogue is projected, and the result is refreshing enough to keep viewers amused for just under an hour.
There isn't much of a story from scenarist Matt Lyle, who also directed, but what there is follows tall, ample Velma (Kim Lyle) who is cross-dressing to get work. As she goes about her search, she falls for a paper-clip-thin boxer (Jeff Swearingen), but since she's masquerading as man, she can't declare herself. So she arranges to hang around the object of her affection as his trainer.
Along the way, both she and the bantam-weight fighter have comic encounters with others, and Velma even has a dream in which she sheds her drag in a ring of fairies. But the main event here is the actual main-event bout, wherein a man-mountain (Ben Bryant, shirtless in lederhosen) is introduced as the Boxer's opponent. He quickly floors the nominal boxer, at which point Velma takes on the palooka and proves her prowess.
To help establish silent-screen verisimilitude, there are sound effects and an on-stage soundtrack provided by B. Wolf plunking a stage-right piano alongside banjoist Johnny Sequenzia. Verisimilitude isn't entirely achieved; the miming could be more exact, and Wolf adulterates the underscoring by including snatches of songs written much after the period. But, hey, it's only a movie -- well sorta.
-- David Finkle