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6/28/12

Triassic Parq - Hello Absurd Summer Fun!

Now is the perfect time of year to take in some off-Broadway fare. If you are like me, you probably saw every show you wanted to from last season and are fine putting the year to rest and moving on. The thing is, only a few shows are due out in the summer/fall months. Oh, the dilemma for the theater-lorn blogger...


The good news is...well, let's review this last season. All four Tony-nominated plays this year? They had an off-Broadway run in New York within the last two years. Our Tony-winning Best Musical Once? Opened off-Broadway this Fall and the announcement for a transfer happened before their first preview. Off-Broadway shows have been delivering like Dominoes Pizza lately and now, more eyes are on them then ever with a whole bunch of theater fans trying to spot the next Broadway transfer and/or Tony-winner.

And even if neither are in the cards, like the recently-opened Triassic Parq playing at the SoHo Playhouse, they can still be hilarious and entertaining. In fact, you can look at most off-Broadway shows as more creative and edgier productions because their main priorities are not Box Office Grosses and mass-appeal. Instead, they make the show they want to make on their three or four-figure budget and go for broke on the artistic-quality. Hey, isn't that what theater is supposed to be about?

Because Triassic Parq, a raunchy and high-camp (YAY!) musical where a exhibit of female dinosaurs discover the other sex for the first time (and the world and such, blah blah blah), is a bold, adventurous and "so far off the beaten path, it can't even see it" kind of a show. With a set design of forest paraphernalia and sound effects entrenching almost the entire theater, the experience begins just as you take your seat. And then the show begins...and hi-jinx commence.

In short, Parq "GOES THERE," wherever 'there' is, and commits to one of the most gloriously absurd stories that I have even seen. A female dinosaur spontaneously grows a...'thing' and becomes a dude? A miming dinosaur just miming and dancing crazy and stuff? Samuel L. Jackson Morgan Freeman in a white suite narrating? A cast of female dinosaurs, with the three males playing gender-crossed characters, wearing 80's reject fashion, hair and make-up, prancing, thrusting (dinosaur sex y'all!) and growling on stage? So much cray cray...it was awesome.

Oh, I really did have a blast. When the Velociraptor of innocence is singing while simultaneously getting shocked by an electrical fence or when one of the female tyrannosaurus rexes is turning into a male and singing about how she has no flow, I could not contain my joy. Like, I am rolling my head back with laughter and my smiling was starting to hurt my face. A couple of out-of-scene meta moments also happen too, because no show is complete with out them really. Although there are some heartfelt scenes as well - wonderfully earned by a game, committed cast - it is the show's "laugh-out-loud because THAT JUST HAPPENED" moments that really stick.

At the helm of it all is Alex Wyse, who completely owned the show as the Velociraptor of Innocence. His performance is so perfectly girly, naive and harmless as he she searches for answers outside of the electrical fenced off area he she has come to know. He She is so easy to root for and MAN, can Wyse sing. Who knew from his spot-on portrayal of Todd in Lysistrata Jones that he can sing as well as he can act? Well, now we know and we are glad we do.

Another Lysistrata Jones alumnus, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, was very good playing the Velociraptor of Science. Her character introduction comes close to half-way through, but her first musical number more then makes up for her lack of stage time - especially because she nailed the raunch factor as she begins rapping (yes, rapping). Claire Neumann was hysterical playing the female-turned-male T-Rex. After completely turning into a male, she riffs on the idea of a sexually driven pervert needing to put his 'thing' into a girl's vajayjay region - except it is told through song (appropriately called "di** fix," I kid you not) and therefore, it is awesometastic. Combined with the rest of the ensemble, they bring the story to life delivering one-liners for days ("What's a peen-wis?") and a couple of great numbers.

Triassic Parq works because the elements combine together nicely and manage to be worthwhile and funny. And while most musicals are playing it safe (and typically sucking in the process), here comes along this little show willing to be adventurous. No, this won't play the big houses to sold out audiences...but the 150 or so of us open-minded folk entering the SoHo Playhouse will leave happy and satisfied. Definitely not a bad way to kick off the summer.

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