Dar and Matey's Christmas SpectaculARGH!
nytheatre.com review by Montserrat Mendez
December 4, 2010
If you take the L train to Lorimer, you will be at the Brick Theatre, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It's literally a ten-minute ride from Manhattan. So I feel totally foolish that I never go out of Manhattan to see theatre. Why? Because The Brick is amazing! A great little space, with the friendliest producers I have ever met. I have never been as welcomed to a space as I was by the Brick Family. If you visit this great little theatre you will see why. And that's why the space is totally awesome.
Currently they are running Fight Fest, a series of plays where the star of the show is the fight choreography. Well, that was just one of the highlights of the entry I happened to see—a well-written, expertly acted little play that had me in stitches. Ridiculously hilarious, Larry Pontius's Dar and Matey's Christmas SpectaculARGH! answers the question, what is missing from Christmas? The answer, to our surprise, is a healthy doze of piracy.
Dar and Matey are pirates and have apparently been seen in earlier episodes (the play is written in the style of old time cliffhanger serials). They have docked their ship in the North Pole in search for Professor Genius, where they encounter Princess Snowflake, who can also transform herself into a fierce polar bear. She recruits the pirates to take on the evil crew over at the Workshop, let by Santa Claus and his right hand henchman, Tiny Tim.
Ingeniously directed by Robert Ross Parker, he of Vampire Cowboys fame, Pontius's script has a real comic setup and some really clever language. It's just fun to hear pirates use the words reserved for Christmas cards. Parker packs in the visual bits one after the other, and sets a dark, hysterical, and yet joyous holiday mood. The cast is top-notch. Brandon Potter as Dar and Avi Glickstein as Matey are great pirates. But the real joy is watching Amir Wachterman and Tom Pecinka as kidnapper and kidnappee. Wachterman plays Santa as a real baddie, a hysterical effeminate baddie in the style of James Bond films; while Pecinka nails this style of comedy, it's hard to make this type of comedy look effortless, but he never lets us see him sweat.
And of course, it wouldn't be Fight Fest without fight choreography, and Maggie McDonald has a good time giving us some really clever sight gags. I will never look at another Tiny Tim walking staff in the same way again, as she manages to turn it into a deadly weapon.
If I have one caveat it's that the play ran a little short for my taste. I was having a really good time and then it came to an end, about ten minutes before I was ready to stop watching. And I think they are ways to make the play a little longer and keep the enjoyment going. For example, why did Santa need to kidnap Professor Genius? Why was Snowflake's father put out to the ice pasture? What was Santa Claus's master plan? I know these seem like silly questions, but in order to create a fuller evening, Pontius may consider answering them. As a one-act this is a great piece, but if it's to stand alone, it just needs a little something more.
However, if you're going to go to the Brick Theater for Fight Fest—and you should—I would definitely put this one on your list, and check it twice.