Publicity Outfitters and Tanya Bershadsky
in association with
Andrea Ciannavei, Gabriel Evans, Paul Smithyman and Michael Voyer
December 9, 2003 – February 1, 2004 at the Barrow Street Theatre, NYC
Directed by TIMOTHY HASKELL
Fight Choreography TAIMAK GUARRIELLO
Dance Choreography REBECA RAMIREZ
Set Design PAUL SMITHYMAN
Lighting Design ANGELA SIERRA
Sound Design MARK CANNISTRARO
Wigs HUGH MACK "HUCK" DILL
Stage Manager PARYS LE BRON
Graphic Design/Miniatures GABRIEL EVANS
Press PUBLICITY OUTFITTERS
Giuseppe "Ago" Agostaro - Kellie Anthes - Nick Arens - Laura Baggett Jamie Benge - Lucia Burns - Taimak Guarriello - Christopher Joy
Brian Kantrowitz - Harry Listig - Rachael Roberts - Rolando Zuniga
Just when you thought theater in New York had squeezed every ounce of camp out of every premise of every tale that originated in another genre in the big bad world of entertainment, and just when you thought that the mullet had finally faded into the ancient annals of hairstyles past, comes the off-Broadway production of ROAD HOUSE: The Stage Version Of The Cinema Classic That Starred Patrick Swayze, Except This One Stars Taimak From The 80’s Cult Classic "The Last Dragon" Wearing A Blonde Mullet Wig. If the extensive title does not tell it all, the press release appropriately sums up this adaptive play as a "Fightsical."
Transferred to the Barrow Street Theatre after the successful off-off-Broadway run at La Tea, ROAD HOUSE continues to draw fans of the 1989 film version. Perhaps starved for a furtherance of the B-movie tale about a loner bouncer set to clean up a bad ass bar, or perhaps just folks looking for a mindless night out, the audience finds something in this derivative fist fest that defies critical analysis.
If you are not familiar with the film, the basic premise behind ROAD HOUSE is that an outsider named Dalton (portrayed by real life martial arts master Taimak Guarriello) comes to a dive bar called Double Deuce to rid it of undesirables. Dalton quickly becomes more than a bouncer, finding himself somewhere in between pariah and mysterious stranger. After succumbing to injuries in one of his fights, Dalton makes a love connection with Dr. Clay (Rachael Roberts), and falls deeper into the local political machinations that threaten to tear this very seedy small town apart.
As camp, ROAD HOUSE works pretty well. The extensive fight scenes have been meticulously choreographed by Mr. Guarriello, and the undeniably stupid fun to be had with the plot and the script is taken advantage of at every turn. Mixing live stage action with live video feed, director Timothy Haskell has created a distinctive look and feel for the production. Unfortunately, as a whole, the piece comes off uneven. There are some splendidly funny scenes, particularly between the quirky Ms. Roberts, magic man Giuseppe "Ago" Agostaro and the affable Mr. Guarriello, but most of the time the humor relies on repetitive sight gags that just do not resonate the whole way through.
That said, I am sure that the vast majority of folks flocking to this rendition of ROAD HOUSE do have some prior, perhaps even guilty love of the 1989 film. Those attendees will likely enjoy the stage version. If you have not seen the movie, but are looking for a wild combination of fun, fluff, fisticuffs and flannel shirts, well, this just could be the show for you to see.
- Kessa De Santis -