There’s nothing particularly clever about spoofing a spoof of a genre where shittiness is so thoroughly ingrained in the ethos, there’s no point trying to sort out what’s intentionally bad and what’s not. A musical adaptation of a no-budget creature feature of the same name, ThanksKilling the Musical stacks layers of self-parody upon layers of self-parody, throws in a bunch of “transgressive” jokes, and strains both eyeballs winking at the audience. For an adaptation of a tossed-off lark of a movie (if my sampling of the film is accurate), this thing is trying really hard.
Fortunately, Balagan Theatre’s cast injects some loose fun into the proceedings – little moments of inspired comic anarchy that are a lot more satisfying than a pre-approved drinking game or a thrice-made joke about JonBenét Ramsay that isn’t funny or particularly offensive the first time around. (Also, what year is it?) The parody here barely rises above the Friedberg/Seltzer level of mere recognition of tropes, compiling a cast of horror movie stereotypes – the jock, the nerd, the hick, the slut and the virgin – and expecting us to laugh in amazement at that razor-sharp insight into cinematic types.
So, when a killer turkey begins to systematically off members of the group, often in the middle of a song, his gruff proclamation of “You’re welcome” is, well, welcome. If only he had killed a little faster and gotten this thing under the one-hour mark.
Am I being too harsh on this goof of a show? Yeah, probably. Even if the material isn’t nearly as funny as it thinks it is, it’s great fun watching Evan Hildebrand and Evan Woltz serenade one another in the foot-stomping man-ballad “Man Love” and Kody Bringman and Larissa Schmitz subvert the types they played in Balagan’s previous production, Carrie, for another romance that’s doomed to fail from the start. Under a mask, Jeff Orton plays the killer turkey with entertainingly rabid bloodlust (and just regular old lust; poor Lindsey Larson). Stealing the show though is Brian Lange playing every secondary character, including a mourning hunter, a disappointed father, and the drinking game emcee.
ThanksKilling the Musical is on stage at Seattle Center’s Cornish Playhouse Studio through Dec. 14. Tickets are available for purchase online.Powered by Sidelines