Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mrs. Caliban - Lifeline Theatre (Theatre Review)

We all need someone we can cream on. - Mick Jagger

These words have always rung true, even before Mick sang them in a fake black accent in the late 40s. See everyone in Lifeline's latest play Mrs. Caliban is hoping and dreaming of someone to cream on, and that creaming takes many wild and dangerous forms. So lookout!

I got these tickets for free, so my review is really really biased. Just like everyone else's. All reporting is subjective, and as far as I'm concerned if I got free tickets to a show, that show just moved up a whole letter grade. So, right now, Mrs. Caliban starts at a D. Let's see if we can move it up a few more notches.

When I walked into the theatrical showplace, the set was not the usual gigantic 2 leveled show-off BS that Lifeline usually goes for, which was nice for a sweet change of pace. It was minimal, without being bold. Very understated, which is what I think I wrote in my little notebook. Or maybe I wrote bald. It was really dark.

The theater smelled nice. This may have been my wife.

The show apparently is based around the idea of magic realism, which is a term that writers created when they wanted to piss off audiences by introducing a crazy sci-fi element into a really depressing real situation. Mrs. Caliban is about Dorothy (played by the luminous and powerful Brenda Barrie, who carries the show on her lovely shoulders and clavicles) and her tragic marriage to Fred (an unbelievably white Dan Granata) and her horrible, horrible boring life. Then a lizard man shows up and bangs her for a FULL DAY! Seriously, this is the "inciting incident". The lizard man, Larry (an otherworldly Peter Greenberg, painted green...berg) is kept hidden by Dorothy in her dead son's bedroom. Dorothy is thrilled and excited to have this amazing new thing in her life, and becomes happy for the first time in years.

Then everything goes to fucking hell and it depressed the shit out of me.

Listen, Lifeline, I don't mind a play where things are depressing, but this is a show about a LIZARD MAN who is having sex with a bored housewife. No crazy fights, no laser guns. They keep talking about how the lizard man can tear guys heads off, but then they NEVER SHOW IT.

If you guys want to compete with The Tudors and Quantum Leap, you have got to sell a little steak with your sizzle, that's all I'm saying, America.

There are really good things about the show. The acting is pretty top notched...everyone commits to this really crazy story (LIZARD MAN) . The sound design is dope (LIZARD MAN). And, much to my wife's dismay, I'm in love with Brenda Barrie.


This show is an amazing risk for Lifeline, and that boosts it up to something that should be experienced...but you might want to have some episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond queued up on the DVR when you get home. I was depressed by this lizard man extravaganza.


-Eric Roach, Anderson Lawfer

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