Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company
VAMPIRE COWBOY TRILOGY
JAKE MISCO: OUTER BOROUGH PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR
CAPTAIN JUSTICE & LIBERTY LADY VERSUS THE HOODED MENACE
TINA: TEENAGE WARRIOR PRINCESS
Created by QUI NGUYEN and ROBERT ROSS PARKER
Common Basis Theatre, 750 Eighth Avenue, 5th Floor, NYC, March 5 – 27, 2004
Directed by ROBERT ROSS PARKER
Scenic/Lighting Design NICK FRANCONE
Costumes CHRISTOPHER M. DOMANSKI
Sound MATTHEW GIVEN
Fight Choreography QUI NGUYEN
Dance Choreography SARAH MAXFIELD
Stage Manager JENNIFER B. HAVEY
Publicity ADAM KLASFELD, KLASFELD PUBLICITY
Dan Deming – Jake Misco, The Hooded Menace, Inachus
Caitlin Dick – Molly, Gabby
Temar Underwood – Janitor Jim, Captain Justice, Brad
Andrea Marie Smith – A Mysterious Stranger, The Spectator, Missy
Melissa Paladino – Kooky Flight Attendant, Liberty Lady, Tina
Megan Ketch – Vampire Cowboy, Ninja, Justo
Margie Freeswick – Vampire Cowboy, Ninja, M. Linstructeur
It is always a wonderful surprise to go to the theater off-off-Broadway, expecting good intentions but middling production values, and to find a show that is something a little bit special. Such was the case with a tempting little trio of plays presented under an umbrella title VAMPIRE COWBOY TRILOGY. One might wonder if my delight with this work is in reaction to the barrage of difficult, dark, depressing and often oddly flawed performances that have flooded New York stages this season. The theater may be full of tragedy these days, I will admit, but I still know good comedy when I experience it!
VAMPIRE COWBOY TRILOGY is funny, witty, and features some of the most innovative stage combat I have seen. Skill abounds, but it is a rarity to see SAFD certification put to such comical purpose. Credit goes to fight choreographer and show co-creator Qui Nguyen for the design, but the actors are up to every challenge thrown at them. The evening succeeds for the nuances employed rather than due to the large strokes of action. Details make all the difference, especially in broad comedy, and this company gets it. I knew I was in store for something clever when the show started off with the funniest delivery of those familiar "warnings" to shut off cell phones and the like that I have seen. Employing the talents of Dan Deming, and Melissa Paladino as "The Kooky Flight Attendant with a Heart of Gold," the audience was given step-by-step instructions in the area of silencing noise making devices, warned about adult language and so much more before the slated trilogy began.
I enjoyed the first and third plays the best, with the introductory JAKE MISCO: OUTER BOROUGH PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR succeeding most fully at spoofing a genre. JAKE MISCO, aside from lampooning the private detectives of film noir included some inspired hand-to-hand (or, more precisely, pot-to-pot) combat. The second play, CAPTAIN JUSTICE & LIBERTY LADY VERSUS THE HOODED MENACE, a piece about two old-style caped crime fighters trying to find a place in the modern world was a bit too drawn out for my tastes, and did make the central point a bit too often, but it was not bad. Finally, there was the evil high school cheerleader vs. teenage warrior play, TINA: TEENAGE WARRIOR PRINCESS. An extreme example of peer pressure, clique control and all-out teen angst, this play, too, made ample use of the source material to great comic effect. As for those vampire cowboys, they appeared between the plays in three bouts of one on one fighting.
So, VAMPIRE COWBOY TRILOGY is recommended as good, escapist entertainment that will leave you laughing rather than crying, pondering, contemplating, or any of those other deep effects that cerebral entertainment can have on an audience. If you are looking for laughs, you will find them here.
- Kessa De Santis -