Sunday, April 7, 2013

Varsity Cheerleader Werewolves From Outer Space—Funhouse Lounge—SE Portland

Watch The Skies!

This play is presented by Talisman Stageworks and Films and is produced, written and directed by Steve Coker.  It will play at 7:30 pm through the 20th at the Funhouse Lounge at 2432 SE 11th Ave.  For more information go to

Okay, it’s the mid-80’s, see, and this giant thing from outer space crashes into the earth, which houses these puppies and they…no, not a good start.  Well, then, there’s these cheerleaders from a small town that chance upon this crater and…no, still not right.  How about this, there’s this new girl in town who’s shunned by the elites from the school…damn, thought I could do better but the title tells it all.  And the story is in perfect sync with all those grand B&W, low-budget, Sci-Fi/Horror flicks from the 50’s.

Probably the most recognizable film homage to this era would be The Faculty by Robert Rodriguez and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  The first, being a film about a school taken over by aliens, impersonating the students/teachers and the second, a campy musical spoof of that same age.  What is nice about these plots is that they are all so familiar and, therefore, you don’t have to think too deeply about it.  Just relax and enjoy the ride.

It’s obvious that Mr. Coker understands this, and is a lover of that genre, and the music/lingo from the 80’s.  The plot does involve a new girl in town, Stacey (Brooke Totman) and her Dad, Daniel (Jon Ashley Hall); some snooty cheerleaders, who put a new spin on the word “foxy;” and a master race of aliens called the Crimson Order, whose job is to help protect Earth from the baddies.  There is also the good-boy, stud-muffin, named Troy (Sean Lamb) who all the cheerleaders devour…I mean, desire.  And the bad boy, outcast, Dean (Illya Tores) who eventually scoots off with our heroine.

If, as I said, all this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s meant to.  The purpose of a tasty spoof is to make sure that homage is also part of the formula.  In this production, it is.  The cast is also well-versed in this campy style.  They are all spot-on, some playing multiple parts but all seeming to have the time of their life and, thus, so did the audience.  I did miss an attempt at werewolf make-up but it would have probably been too complicated with this bare-bones setting.  But as dancers/cheerleaders these young ladies are a definite—WOW!

Ms. Totman captures perfectly the blonde, teenage newbie and Mr. Hall is also good as her loving father.  He had a large role in a local film made here called, Trainmaster.  And Ithica Tell is formidable as the lead, alien rescuer.  She was recently seen to good advantage  as the lead witch in Mile Post 5’s, Macbeth.

The costumes and music are very appropriate for the show.  And the skeleton setting actually adds to the enjoyment of the show.  I especially liked the puppet-cat named (are you ready for this) Cheshire.  And the little hand-puppets as the alien puppies were a howl.  This is a fun evening, folks, just leave your serious face at home.

It should be mentioned that this is going to be made into a film.  A sample teaser is on their website.  Also they do serve drinks and food, which adds to the enjoyment of the evening.  I am a lover of this genre and recommend this play.  If you go, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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