However, that does not even begin to describe Terminator Too: Judgment Play, a parody of Terminator 2 now open on Saturday nights at Santos Party House. There are ponchos on sale in the lobby…which is a not-so-subtle code for “you must buy this.” And you really should…because the cast uses super soakers to spray the audience. This is when they are not throwing buckets of whatever at you – water, juice, fake blood maybe. If you are thinking of wearing those new Gucci pants or that Michael Kors button-down, reconsider…you’ll be glad you did.
Oh yeah…you know that Terminator character that is kind of important in the movie? Yeah, that part is not even cast. Or at least not ahead of time… to all those males just looking to get your nerd/comedy fix or planning are enjoying the show with your pals and/or significant others? You may find yourself suddenly volunteering to audition for the part when no one else has yet come forth…like this blogger friend guy that I know (not mentioning names, of course). That audition may involve some push-ups, small acting parts and/or flexing like a body builder. The audience votes via loud cheers, the Terminator is cast and then whisked off backstage for costuming.
Notice that the show has not even begun yet and the audience has probably already expended more energy then their last theater outing in its entirety. Oh, but then the show begins, the Super-Soaker-induced moisture kicks off, your poncho purchase already paid for itself and the recently-cast Terminator is wearing nude, awkwardly-stuffed hot pants (and already, I -…I mean, my blogger friend guy is relieved at not being selected for the part). He is then being guided around by a sexy, Hispanic maid (who is there for some reason) while she holds out the cue cards for the Terminator to read off of (while also playing a character herself). The Terminator acquires a leather jacket and a pair of ass-less chaps…and then right after that, the show starts to get bizarre. You know, same old, same old…
Oh, I kid…but seriously, how ridiculous is that? Believe me, it is just as fun to write about as it is to experience. The audience interaction goes as far as the cast touching, and grabbing anything with a heartbeat as they weave in and out throughout the show. The threat of audience liquid bombing made me have my hands on the hood of my poncho while my eyes darted on all ends of the room looking for the next attack. In a production with some funny bits and high entertainment-value, the audience integration (or the pending suspense of the next time the audience becomes involved) is the real star.
Not that the show itself would not have held its own otherwise…quite the contrary. The bits are genuinely successful with a script riffing on T-2 and the entire life story of Arnold Schwarzenegger, with some of the Terminator’s lines extracted from his other film work and his most iconic phrases. Throw in a gender-cross John Connor, Mark Zuckerberg (Oh yes!), Tonka and Fisher-Price cars and props and you get an experience exactly like you paid for.
Ironically, the newly-casted Terminator is a big part of why the show is a blast. Maybe because expectations are low and you have no idea how much alcohol this guy pounded (if any). Unsurprisingly, the dude flubbed a line or three and broke character, but obviously, that is part of the charm. We are laughing right alongside him at the absurdity and to his credit, his accent was pretty dead-on and he got more and more into the role as the show went on. It also helped that his group of friends in the audience occasionally spouted off some joke every now at then at his expense, especially when it come to his very out-there “thing” that the sexy maid feather-dusts throughout like her life depended on it. The “will he or will he not” cop an uncomfortable woody is actually one of the more tense arches of the story.
Okay, that is one of the most interesting sentences I have ever typed.
But in all honesty, all the power to this show for being silly, amusing and for getting the job done. Like I mentioned in my Triassic Parq write-up, new Broadway openings are few and far in-between during the Summer and Fall months, so more eclectic fare like Terminator Too are even more welcome then usual. And in a day-and-age where cult-shows/films are a fun, random Saturday night entertainment, like screenings of Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Room, this show has arrived right on cue. Stay awhile, why don'tcha!
Photo Credit: Santos Party House
Photo Credit: Thomas Blake