Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

She-Rantulas from Outer Space in 3D! at Diversionary

She-Rantulas from Outer Space
She-Rantulas from Outer Space

She-Rantulas from Outer Space in 3D

It’s a “fartire.” That’s what Phil Johnson and Ruff Yeager call their “unique combination of farce and satire.” It’s based on the B-movies of the Fifties, where monsters from who knows where threaten to obliterate the whitebread status quo.

First and foremost: She-Rantulas has truly funny bits and evokes depth-charge laughter. Johnson, a Craig Noel Award winner and one of San Diego’s leading comic actors, plays Betty (Crocker?), a growingly addled woman who may have been abducted by aliens – or was a man abducted by aliens, given a sex-change, and impregnated by tarantula-like beings from beyond.

That explains why her daughter, eight-year-old Suzie, is growing strange appendages and harboring heinous thoughts. And why males are disappearing at an alarming rate.

And also why denial runs rampant at 1984 Main Street, Terrytown, USA. When Betty admits that Suzie’s “different,” a neighbor chimes in: “this is crazy talk! So [she] just has a few extra arms and legs!”

Also in the denial vein: “We’re Americans. If we just ignore it, it’ll go away.”

It’s too bad people couldn’t watch a 50’s sitcom retrospective – even just bits from “Father Knows Best,” or “My Three Sons” - to appreciate how accurately Johnson and Yeager recreate the lock-step, traditional values of those shows.

For example, when proto-fascist Fred exclaims “the things you gals can do with cheese!” the line gets a huge laugh today, but would have fit right in on “Ozzie and Harriet.”

She-Rantulas is a world premiere. With a thorough tightening, it could really be something. It currently plays two hours without an intermission. All four scenes take too long to develop. Cut 15 minutes of excessive business and repetitions (the similar murders, especially), and no one would miss them.

The Diversionary production is obviously a labor of love. Everyone in the five person cast, nicely directed by Yeager, makes a contribution: Fred Harlow and Andy Collins’ in multiple roles (in drag); Tony Houck as Suzie, the pre-teen from hell, or Alpha Centauri. Melinda Gilb stars in multiple roles and stops the show when one of her characters throws a scene-stomping tantrum.

And Johnson is special as Betty. Sure, he’s melodramatic and campy to the max. But so is Betty. Johnson registers touching emotional truth, even though he, well, over-glazes the canapés.

Chad Jaeger’s set is pure 1957; the gaudy pink walls (which Luke Olson’s lighting bathes in blood reds) make for an aesthetic horror show.

Jennifer Brawn Gittings’ costumes are a parade of '50s fashions for women, but with a catch: she designed most of them for male actors. Aided by Peter Herman’s wigs, part of the fun is seeing how one actor can exit with one distinct look and re-enter — often in a jiff — as someone else.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Is Midway the new Soccer City?

Fresh chapter unfolds in San Diego's well-lobbied Sports Arena muddle
Next Article

Albert Brooks’ mockinfomercial introduction

The glad-handing human laugh track, assures his audience, “That was funny.”
She-Rantulas from Outer Space
She-Rantulas from Outer Space

She-Rantulas from Outer Space in 3D

It’s a “fartire.” That’s what Phil Johnson and Ruff Yeager call their “unique combination of farce and satire.” It’s based on the B-movies of the Fifties, where monsters from who knows where threaten to obliterate the whitebread status quo.

First and foremost: She-Rantulas has truly funny bits and evokes depth-charge laughter. Johnson, a Craig Noel Award winner and one of San Diego’s leading comic actors, plays Betty (Crocker?), a growingly addled woman who may have been abducted by aliens – or was a man abducted by aliens, given a sex-change, and impregnated by tarantula-like beings from beyond.

That explains why her daughter, eight-year-old Suzie, is growing strange appendages and harboring heinous thoughts. And why males are disappearing at an alarming rate.

And also why denial runs rampant at 1984 Main Street, Terrytown, USA. When Betty admits that Suzie’s “different,” a neighbor chimes in: “this is crazy talk! So [she] just has a few extra arms and legs!”

Also in the denial vein: “We’re Americans. If we just ignore it, it’ll go away.”

It’s too bad people couldn’t watch a 50’s sitcom retrospective – even just bits from “Father Knows Best,” or “My Three Sons” - to appreciate how accurately Johnson and Yeager recreate the lock-step, traditional values of those shows.

For example, when proto-fascist Fred exclaims “the things you gals can do with cheese!” the line gets a huge laugh today, but would have fit right in on “Ozzie and Harriet.”

She-Rantulas is a world premiere. With a thorough tightening, it could really be something. It currently plays two hours without an intermission. All four scenes take too long to develop. Cut 15 minutes of excessive business and repetitions (the similar murders, especially), and no one would miss them.

The Diversionary production is obviously a labor of love. Everyone in the five person cast, nicely directed by Yeager, makes a contribution: Fred Harlow and Andy Collins’ in multiple roles (in drag); Tony Houck as Suzie, the pre-teen from hell, or Alpha Centauri. Melinda Gilb stars in multiple roles and stops the show when one of her characters throws a scene-stomping tantrum.

And Johnson is special as Betty. Sure, he’s melodramatic and campy to the max. But so is Betty. Johnson registers touching emotional truth, even though he, well, over-glazes the canapés.

Chad Jaeger’s set is pure 1957; the gaudy pink walls (which Luke Olson’s lighting bathes in blood reds) make for an aesthetic horror show.

Jennifer Brawn Gittings’ costumes are a parade of '50s fashions for women, but with a catch: she designed most of them for male actors. Aided by Peter Herman’s wigs, part of the fun is seeing how one actor can exit with one distinct look and re-enter — often in a jiff — as someone else.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Customer complaint chases bullying Starbucks barista from corona-crazed coffee collective

Star-BUCKS
Next Article

San Diego Lotharios rejoice at news of mandatory 10 pm nightlife shutdown

Closed Doors = Closed Deals
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close