Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hyde at Paper Wing Fremont and SPECTRE... two British characters for the price of three... or so... titles suck.

HYDE: At Paper Wing Fremont

As familiar as I was with the story of Henry Jeckyll and Edward Hyde, nothing I’ve experienced before could prepare me for this Victorian Thriller adapted for the stage by Patrick Golden and Beverly Van Pelt. Their adaptation is a story that is utterly transfigured from the bare bones skeleton of the original with a twist I didn’t see coming- as the play has now run its course, no one else will see it coming again for quite some time and I still won’t spoil it here. The story centers around the sensationalized true life murders committed by “Jack the Ripper”, revealed to be the brutal Hyde in the opening moments of the play. This isn’t something new as Hyde and Ripper have been tied together before in other films. The story is revealed through the intervention of Jeckyll’s University flame, Dr. Lenore Lanyon(Beverly Van Pelt). A physician equally enamored with the nature of human “duality”, she is the only one who may be able to understand and unravel the mystery surrounding the good doctor, the murders, and what lays behind the true mystery of the story.

The dialogue is quick-witted and darkly humorous with plenty of gallows humor that may leave you laughing, squirming, or equal bits of both. Golden takes the lead as Hyde/Jeckyll, a loathsome man covered in scars and quick with a bottle or a knife. His performance is filled with anger- anger at the world, anger at his scarred visage, anger at perceived threats and hatred for everything. There's a certain sense of paranoia and a guarded study of the room at nearly all times. He is in sharp contrast to the younger version of Jeckyll (Larry Oblander III), a quick witted doctor with a flair for riddles and jokes. We are shown both versions of the character through flashbacks before this dual nature is revealed in the plays final moments. Oblander is plainly terrific in his role- equal parts likeable and ultimately consumed by his work.

Van Pelt and Kelsey Posey each pull duty as co-directors and lead the audience through a highly stylized production, possible nods to German Expressionism and Hammer Studio productions throughout and a cast that took the material every bit as serious at is should with comedic aspects coming about organically. Amanda Platsis pulls double duty as a conniving Madam Paine and the attending surgeon at an autopsy. Both roles completely different and equally biting with humor. Jesse Juarez delivers an intense performance as the erstwhile Police surgeon on the trail of Jack, Cheryl Karoly is solid as the suspicious maid and one-time caretaker to Dr. Jeckyll, while Robert Feeney takes his performance to manic highs as a true life suspect in the string of East End murders, “Russian” Mike. Accents may have been a little spotty in parts, but it hardly slowed the show down.

After the show I found myself lost in thought- it was an interesting twist on an old tale. A consideration on what we consider familiar and how we can make a change to those familiar stories- in an age where Hollywood is constant “rebooting” old films and delivering stale sequels to pad their studios it’s a way to approach material and keep it fresh with a few additional questions. Golden delivers a chilling performance near the end- an introduction of s5orts that chills.

4.5 out of 5.


How do I start this? 

James Bond, Double-OH-OH-SEVEN is back! This is the fourth outing for Mr. Daniel Craig in the role of our erstwhile spy In Her Majesty’s Service and I am totally psyched!!! Can you tell? I hope you can tell- I hope you understand that it’s not always horror, blood, guts, and carnage ‘round these here parts and there’s the occasional foray into other “genre” films. I hope you know that, dear faceless reader, and by all means keep reading on. Because I love the spy genre- to be more specific, the superspy genre!

And this year’s Bond is hitting right from the get-go with a beautiful long shot that captures everything we need to know about the character. Even if you’ve never seen a Bond film, this is everything you need to know- he’s walking with a beautiful woman, he’s moving through a crowded festival with a sense of purpose, and he’s out to perform some specific task with a flippant comment and intense focus. This is Bond- and the opening moments of the film are filled with a non-stop action sequence. Assassination attempts, explosions, a slow chase through a crowded festival, a helicopter, explosions, and those familiar horns hit to signal the opening credit sequence.

From here on out, the film is pure comfort food- Craig is fantastic as Bond and has completely reinvented the role for himself. He’s grittier, edgier, and much less suave than the Sean Connery pastiche we’ve seen in other Bonds. But no Bond is complete without a villain to be his equal- and I’m sure some fans were absolutely salivating to see what kind of man would be stepping up to take a swing at our hero. Christoph Waltz bears that honor- oh, and what an HONOR it is when his plan and identity are fully revealed. And professional wrestler Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) also steps in as an enforce “Odd Job” sort of character- a man of few words and brutal actions. And in the end- I absolutely LOVED this film!!!


That’s sentiment talking and I’m not really giving the film an objective view. The truth of the matter is that while the movie is well acted, well directed, and put together very nicely- there are huge flaws in the film that I would be silly to not bring up. The script is a bit of a mess and there are some truly hackneyed moments. It reads almost like fan-fiction in certain parts and that great and amazing reveal is almost spoiled by the attachment of an historic link that was never needed or really even wanted. The requisite “Bond-girl” comes off as almost forgettable, despite lame attempts to make her a supposedly stronger character- despite lip service to her competence, knowledge, and ability she is really only ever portrayed as the “Damsel in distress” so often complained about.


But it's not a great film and isn't the best Bond ever. It's still very satisfying and fun, but I'd be remiss to not point out some of the flaws. 

4 out of 5.

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