Friday, November 16, 2007

Slouching Towards Disneyland: ☼ 1/2 BANG baub

You can't say 'Slouching Towards Disneyland' is not clever and you can't say there aren't funny moments, even a few touching ones. You can't say Merle 'Ian Shoales' Kessler isn't an appealing front man and you can't say the concept of the world as an endless and mindless 'It's a Small World After All' theme park ride doesn't ring eerily true.

It is probable there is a built-in Bay Area audience for Kessler and sidekick Joshua 'Raoul' Brody and their anti-modernity rants, which may become more focused when the two men have had a little more time to learn their lines. They may find themselves choosing to banter less and sing a little more.

No would ever say these two are untalented guys. It's nothing short of amazing that Kessler danged near pulls the drowning cat out of the river at the very end when the Disneyland references FINALLY start to pay off the intriguing first line of the show's first song: "I found myself in Anaheim with a little time to kill."

But shoot. You can't say the audience gets to grow during the performance. You can't say one feels much empathy for the two curmudgeons on stage, unless you already felt that way before you came to the theater. And you can't say the show is worth running down to the Marsh to see, not yet anyway. But we've all seen inspiration from Kessler and Brody in the past and it's quite possible the Slouch may, in time, stand up, jump out of the motorized cart and start to evolve into something fascinating.

RATINGS: ☼ 1/2 BANG baub

The SF Theater Blog Awards Division awards 'Slouching Towards Disneyland' one star for the absolute hubris of defining the topic for the evening as 'everything that ever happened since the beginning of time.' Another half a star is given for Kessler's very pleasing solo voice but that uber-irritating tape loop that Brody keeps gleefully drawing from his Mac (it repeats 'The Dustbin of History...The Dustbin of History' like it actually means something) receives a bauble of despair. A special bangle goes out for the intriguing line: "Skin is to tattoos what memory is to computers." Not sure what it means but it's too cool to go unrewarded.

The Marsh
1062 Valencia Street
Thu-Sat Through December 8
$15-$25 sliding scale

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