There’s this thing about cheap laughs.
They can be very funny at first. But sometimes, after a while, cheap laughs become just cheap. And some of that is what bedevils "The Creature From the Black, Black Lagoon," the Christmas show at Dale Gutzman’s Off The Wall Theatre.
Make no mistake about it: This is a funny play, written and directed by Gutzman, and based on the classic 1954 horror movie. There is very little horror here, but there are a lot of sexual jokes, some songs, some very funny visuals and an audience that certainly seemed to enjoy every moment.
I enjoyed it, too. But after a while, I found myself almost worn out from waiting for the jokes and from knowing what the jokes were going to be.
When a drag queen looks at the crotch of the monster who loves her and swoons, it’s not the least bit surprising. When a slovenly and lecherous boat captain sets his sights on the long-legged jungle girl and offers her safety in the meat locker, it’s not a surprise.
To me, the thing I’ve always thought the highest – and funniest – form of comedy is both funny and unexpected. Startle me, make me laugh and I’m a happy boy.
The production certainly has its moments, and most of them revolve around Mark Hagen who plays Kay Laverne, the love object of the creature and the woman who is in love with her professional partner.
Hagen is astoundingly funny, and Gutzman wisely understands that to give her/him/whatever free reign is guaranteed laughs. Let the spotlight shine on Hagen, and he knows full what to do with it.
Early in the play, Hagen – dressed in a stunning one piece bathing suit complete with multicolored cap – drops into the water. We see her arms, legs, head, butt and hands emerge with various items from the deep black sea all while the rest of the crew on this motley ship watch. It’s an absolute riot of a scene.
And that is at least a part of the problem with this show. Hagen is so funny and so good at the glance – the bat of an eyela…Read more...