Maybe the allure of the demented exotic evokes the slightly erotic. Are there really cuddly Chippendales on Mars? What is it about B grade films that entrances the designing artists at Level Ground Arts so much they must inflict their dysenteric plots on Dallas audiences in stage adaptation format? Freud and Jung: chill out and enjoy the diversion. There’s something kind of sexy about it, as well as hilarious.
Picture this: matching lurid green sweat-shirts over black sweat-pants with belted triangular communicator-controller ‘codpiece’ thing-ees fashioned out of tin foil and cardboard; spaceman headgear including—baseball, bicycle and equestrian helmets and a few construction hard hats, all spray-painted pesto green to match the actors’ face make-up, with random protrusions of wobbly antennae waving from the crowns; quite “revelatory” spandex and muscle tee-shirt on Santa’s wiggly chief elf “Winky”, in festive candy cane stripe and hues. It just might inspire a rush on Victoria’s Secret.
Martian goons (led by the expressive Christopher Sykes as Kimar, kind of a Martian Errol Flynn) kidnap Santa Claus (Charles E. Moore) to cheer things up on Mars.
Two Earth kids stow away on the Martian ship and complicate matters for everybody. There’s a Martian villain Voldar, ably realized by Erik Knapp, who drives the play’s conflict, a real Scrooge of a Martian with Dick Cheney overtones. The show’s most interesting characters are the two Earthling stowaways Betty and Billy (Alexis Nabors and Liz Woodcock). Director/adapter Andi Allen has coached them into the production’s strongest performances, managing to send up stereotypical 1950’s style bad movie acting with excellent comic effect. There’s a Santa switcheroo, and Santa inexplicably causes the gloomy Martian children to laugh maniacally and salivate like little cannibals. Guess what! A triumphant full cast Bollywood–style choreographed song and dance number “Hurray for Santa Claus” concludes the festivities.
Best of all: get a photo in the lobby after on Santa’s lap or with one of the goon Martians (maybe he’ll let you toy with his tin foil controller, hmm?).
For a Good Time Call 214-630-5491 or visit www.levelgroundarts.com.
They have another show, ”Manos The Hands of Fate”, running late night, too. Dunno anything about it.
Photos by James Jamison