Nearly Naked Theatre's Oedipus for Kids! Makes a Mockery of a Failed Marriage

Things were looking up, even before Nearly Naked Theatre's Oedipus for Kids! commenced on opening night. It's always nice to open a playbill and read that Johanna Carlisle is among the actors about to take the stage. And even nicer to read the occasional actor bio that pokes fun at actor bios, as Doug Loynd's does so amusingly in this program. There was a humorous faux playbill passed out, as well, pertaining to the pretend play-within-a-play that's at the heart of Gil Varod and Kimberly Patterson's kinky little comedy about the Fuzzy Duck Theatre Company, a three-person troupe of would-be actors who do nuts-o translations of the classics. And there was Damon Dering's always-charming curtain speech, which I admit is always my favorite thing about any Nearly Naked production.

This time, that curtain speech had some real competition. Although Oedipus for Kids! is really just more of the same camp shtick from a company that's been doing this for a decade, it's also as fresh and fun as it was the last dozen times.

As sometimes happens, the audience is asked to play a group of kids attending the latest performance by an educational theater troupe whose married principals, played by Loynd and Carlisle, have just broken up backstage. Their young castmate, played by Chad McCluskey, is an imbecile and the son of the company's sponsor, which manufactures coffee for children. While the feuding marrieds spend the evening trying to destroy one another's performance in this irreverently sexy "translation" of Oedipus, McCluskey's young cluck runs off with a sweetly silly routine that's dry as toast.

Leading the blind: Carlisle and company.
Leading the blind: Carlisle and company.

Location Info

Map

Nearly Naked Theatre

100 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Central Phoenix

Details

Oedipus for Kids! continues through September 10 at 100 E. McDowell Rd. Call 602-254-2151 or visit www.nearlynakedtheatre.org.

Director Toby Yatso knows how to spit-shine a play that's supposed to look trashy and ill-planned, and he does us the favor of slowing down Loynd and Carlisle's backstage brawls so that we can enjoy their witty jabs and face-pulling. Opening night, which marked this musical's Arizona debut, provided the unexpected plus of watching Loynd react to the poor slob who was dragged up on stage to enact Sophocles' infamous plagues. Less-spontaneous high points included a soft-shoe hat-and-cane number called "Be Kind to the Blind," and a hilarious scarf dance during a song called, appropriately enough, "Lover, Husband, Son." (Better yet, a song called "A Little Complex" oozes with cheesy entendre: "Whatever Oedipus touches/Oedipus wrecks!")

Equal parts Noises Off and Charles Busch, this oxymoronic freak-out is fun, especially if you haven't seen a half-dozen similar vehicles tucked onto the same stage. I have, but still had a good time at a show that marks the official start of the new theater season.

 
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2 comments
Julie Rush
Julie Rush

Hilarious show! Well acted. I couldnt' stop laughing

Mark Walters
Mark Walters

I agree with Julie but it might depend on the night you attend. I saw the show Saturday night, September 3rd. I think it was an off night. The actor who played Oedipus, was hilarious but the other two actors were just a little off. The friend I went with insisted it was a great show and maybe I just hit it on an off night. After agreeing to pay for my ticket for Sunday night's performance, I can honestly say my friend was right. This show was amazing. All actors were great and the singing was amazing. The Sunday night show was done by the understudy for the female lead, which leads me to ask, "Why was she given understudy status?" She was unbelievably talented actress and singer. All three actors in Sunday's show, I would highly recommend (it if it is acted as it was Sunday evening vs Saturday evening)Mark Walters, Phoenix AZ

 
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