Powertap Productions, at Famous Door Theatre.
The serial killer in Lee Blessing’s Down the Road chose his victims with an eye to maximizing media coverage. In Ted Tally’s 1980 musical Coming Attractions, however, serial-killer wannabe Lonnie Wayne Burke has an agent to do that: Manny Alter, whose motto is “Small crime, serve time. Big crime, gold mine!”
Tally’s Looney Tunes vision of violence as lucrative entertainment might have seemed hyperbolic fantasy 15 years ago, but it seems pretty tame today. The script may be flimsy, but the Powertap ensemble, composed entirely of fight and movement choreographers, all but guarantees a flawless execution. In less expert hands the play could easily have been reduced to a shrill, unfocused mess. The split-second pacing of director Bruce Orendorf and the stop-on-a-dime agility of his cast, however, transform the slapstick gags into riveting displays of comic precision. Four players–Ned Mochel, Julia Neary, Matt Kozlowski, and Ann Boyd–rip their way through 40 roles in 90 minutes, led by Frank Nall as the naive Burke (Nall also makes a surprisingly graceful Miss Wyoming) and Scott Cummins as the amoral Alter.
Powertap Productions is chiefly known for its semiannual Night at the Fights spectacles (and as the folks for whom the Jeff committee recently invented a special category of award). With Coming Attractions the Powertap personnel demonstrate that they’re as adroit at juggling wigs as swords.