A warped evening of wack-a-doo jungle lovin’
|Factory Theater presents|
Review by Katy Walsh
It’s war time. And the Viet Cong isn’t the only thing to fear. There is a mad scientist, CIA psycho, Big Foot and un-fossilized creatures. A special military unit is deployed to uncover the covert operation. Their mission is a little bit dangerous and whole lot zany. Playwright Scott Oken mashes together a “Platoon” meets “Jurassic Park” parody. His dialogue is riddled with legendary movie quotes. His jungle is filled with unexpected anomalies. His plot is twisted with slow-mode flashbacks and harmonizing apparition twins. The concoction is warped, wack-a-doo, wild, jungle lovin’.
Oken gives plenty of material to laugh at. And Director Manny Tamayo ensures the jokes are lampooned. From her drunken entrance, Laura McKenzie is hysterical! McKenzie plays tortured CIA with over-the-top bad ass-ness. Her verbal spars with the ball-busting Timothy C. Amos (Morris) are crazy absurd. At one point, McKenzie and Amos are screaming at each other and their noses are touching. It’s just one of mega LMAO moments in this farcical.
The entire huge and talented cast lend zing to the comedy roll-out. Alison Dornheggen and Ele Matelan pop up regularly as these sing-song Geisha girls. Their delivery is perfectly synchronized. The humor is heightened by a head tilts, model poses and fake smiles. Another standout is Eric Roach as the mad scientist. In an ill-fitting black wig to emphasize his Asian roots, Roach plays the evil buffoon with gusto. Roach exudes madcap madness. Oken created a variety of scenarios calling for quick changes and imaginative costumery. Designer Rachel Sypniewski takes the Oken challenge and inventively dresses the cast for every odd occasion.
Tamayo keeps the action moving. The tight-pace adds to the amusement. The ensemble exits and enters quickly – sometimes startlingly so. At one point, a roll of toilet paper whizzed past my head with an actor in hot pursuit. Even the scene transitions are impressive. The opening scene is in an ordinary bedroom that converts to a war zone in seconds. Scenic Designer Alan Donahue cleverly and quickly turns the stage into Viet Nam with camouflaged everything.
The Factory has birthed a Namosaur!, And this prehistoric mother f#cker is a hoot!
Namosaur continues through August 31st at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston (map), with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays 3pm. Tickets are $20, and are available by phone (866-811-4111) or online through OvationTix.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at TheFactoryTheater.com. (Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes, NO intermission)
Photos by Dan Tamarkin
Timothy C. Amos* (Sgt. Montrose), Mike Beyer* (DJ Williams), Allison Cain (Professor Chaldarhallohapzrd), Ross Compton (T.P.), Angela DeMarco (Biehn, Major Nurse, VC Charlie), Alison Dornheggen (Cosmos, MASHU Colonel, VC Soldier), Linsey Falls (Stan ‘Tiger-Ass’ Hudson, Cohort Doctor, Pterydactyl Handler #1, VC Soldier), Eric Frederickson (Corporal Bigfoot), Roy Gonzalez (Private Osborne), Ele Matelan (Elias, Viet Man, VC Soldier, Woody Woodpecker #2), Laura McKenzie* (Weaver), Sean McGill (T-Rex, Pterydactyl Handler #4), Brian Parenti (Larry ‘Buckshot’ Hudson, Cohort Doctor, Pterydactyl Handler #1, VC Soldier), Eric Roach* (Nyguen Nyguen), Jon Sevigny (Agent Newbie, Colonel Evans, Funny Doctor, Ptery #3, VC Soldier, WW #3)
behind the scenes
Manny Tamayo* (director), Scott Oken* (playwright), Blake Dalzin* (asst. director), Phil Claudnic* (stage manager), Eleni Sauvageau (asst. stage manager), Justin Snyder (tech director), Alan Donahue (set design), Jordan Kardasz (lighting design), Mikey Moran (sound design), Rachel Sypniewski (costume design), Lea Palmeno (props design), Jill Frederickson (puppet design), Matt Engle* (fight choreography), Patrick Holland* (YouTube trailer director), Jason Moody* (graphic design), Craig Eisenhammer (web design), Dan Tamarkin (photos)
* denotes Factory Ensemble Member