Open: 06/01/12- Close: 06/13/12
Reviewed for TheaterOnline.com By: Patrick Garrigan
For those looking for a fun, light evening of dime store noir Doubles Crossed might be just the show to see, see?
Almost as long as the film noir treatment has been around, so too has the impulse to satirize it. The broad melodrama, the cheeky vernacular – heck, the style practically begs to be made fun of. Funny…Sheesh Productions’ latest offering embraces familiar noir traits, and does so with aplomb and excess.
The storyline has all the hallmarks of a Sunday afternoon watching Turner Classic Movies: Two bumbling Keystone Cops (played with comic deftness by Ryan Stadler & James Holden), a dewey-eyed ingénue (Tori Watson), ruthless mobsters setting up faux-movie company to shake down the next big heist (a Sopranos-esque Ron Roth & Jim Heaphy), a case of mistaken identity (Gregory Cohan), and of course, a mysterious dame (delivered with sultry allure by Victoria Guthrie) all play their parts in a whodunit that, while predictable, is enjoyable. In the end, the secrets are revealed, the police get their man, and boy gets girl. You get the gist…
The script by Jason S. Grossman applies all the usual suspects, but adds a clever twist by setting the piece in present day, which provides the addition of current technology and modern day jargon woven rather seamlessly with delightful 20’s slang. One might say Mr. Grossman has engineered a comedic noir nouveau.
This play's jackpot find is Ryan Stadler & James Holden, as the play’s less-than-capable cops. These two actors nail the requisite sense of earnestness about the play’s over-the-top material that makes the ridiculous things they say and do so darn funny.
Mr. Stadler’s bravado while rattling off a list of absurd expressions is an impressive spectacle of verbal acrobatics. He makes it all look so effortless, which is a genuine credit to his grasp of the show’s heightened, specific patter. Holden’s more dim-witted counterpoint is equally enjoyable. He plays the role with the innocence of a child, complete with temper tantrums and moments of unintended hilarity. The two are a perfect pair and much of the success of the show rests on their comedic chemistry.
Amber Gallery’s staging is as outlandish as the script calls for. She allows her team of comedic players the freedom to live unrestrained in this larger-than-life world, and earns great performances by affording them this trust. If there were to be any slight to the handling of this production, it would be found in the slow transitions between shorter scenes that tend to disrupt the rhythm of the shows otherwise punchy proceedings.
On the whole, Funny…Sheesh Productions’ Doubles Crossed provides a successfully executed variation on an already enjoyable theme. And that’s an accomplishment that just might be worth coughing up a couple “clams” for.
Robert Moss Theatre : 440 Lafayette