Spoofs and satires opened over the weekend, ending May on an upbeat note for theatre.
“Triassic Parq,” a spoof of the Steven Spielberg dinosaur movies, is a whimsical musical that is easy to see why it’s a New York Fringe Festival and Los Angeles Ovation Award winner.
The show takes the movie’s theme of dinosaurs being able to metamorphosis from one sex to the other plays out to true comic effect in this parody, all the while pointing out differences among people and sexual identity. All this is set to catchy songs by Marshall Pailet, Bryce Norbitz and Steve Wargo.
The 90 minute show is done with pretty much one set, beautifully designed by Annie Dauber, and is well utilized and moderately embellished from time to time thanks to the clever direction of Alex Kirschner.
The small cast of six (and a half) make for an excellent company. I do need to point out Chelsea Holifield’s beautiful, strong voice that is enhanced by her comic ability. She is certainly a welcome addition to the Ray of Light Theatre family. It’s fitting that she is matched by her partner-in-crime within the show, Monica Turner, who shows us once again that she’s more than a funny lady – she truly can sing.
Another scene stealer is Lewis Rawlinson who has a magic voice and gets to have a few shining solo moments. Since he’s new to California and doesn’t have much of a local resume, just think Chris Cofield from “Glee” as that’s how good he is. Our “half” an actor comes from the talented (and sexy) musical director Robbie Cowan, who manages to poke his head into the show while still conducting the band.
All-in-all, “Triassic Parq” may not go down as my favorite musical spoof of all time. But it’s a good one. It’s also nice to see Ray of Light to continue to gamble with lesser known shows and push the envelope a bit.
Get tickets and information at www.rayoflighttheatre.com.
If you like your spoof without song, then there’s “Devil Boys from Beyond,” playing through June 28 at the New Conservatory Theatre Center.
Another show culled from the New York Fringe Festival, “Devil Boys” is a homage to the 1950s science fiction/alien movies as a small town in Florida becomes overruled by them, causing a major New York newspaper to send its ace reporter Mattie Vsn Buren and photographer Gregory Graham to investigate.
Once in Lizzard Lick, FL, Mattie and Gregory not only have to fight off Lucinda Marsh, who is trying to scoop them, but must find the truth in a town that is full of old biddies with hot sexy husbands. Can they be aliens?
The show and its fast talking, smarmy script by Buddy Thomas and Kenneth Elliot is a hoot and keeps at a fun pace throughout the show. It takes a truly talented actor to be able to ensure the audience is in on the joke in this spoof and “Devil Boys” more than deliveries.
Nathan Marken is a true find as Mattie, conjuring up Rosalind Russell from “His Girl Friday” and mixing in a bit of Charles Busch to boot. He is aptly supported by Kai Brothers as Gregory who shows a great flare for physical comedy.
‘Drew Todd, though, is a scene stealer as Lucinda, the headline grabbing back stabbing witch. Todd is delicious in the role, making you want to just eat him up as he eats up the scenery. I also don’t know if it’s his look, his delivery or his talent, but he reminds me a lot of the very talented Emmy winning Judith Light, who also can mix melodrama with parody.
A. J. Davenport as the newspaper editor channels Perry Olson from “Superman” and makes the character fly on her own. It’s nice to see a woman convincingly play a man in this gender bending comedy.
The show also has its sex appeal that comes within the Stepford like husbands of Gabe Lopez and Brandon Richard. Definitely chew toy material and easily can captivate an audience beyond the old ladies of Lizard Lick.
Speaking of old ladies and gender bending, the town’s old ladies are played well by natural born woman Jennifer McGeorge and man in drag Chris Maltby. They both have some savory moments with or without the eye candy on their arms. All of these fun elements are kept together by the glue that is director F. Allen Sawyer.
Get tickets and more information (Pay What You Wish Night and Post-Show Discussions) at www.nctcsf.org