Monday, August 9, 2010

Fringe Review: Bite Me Twilight!

By Robert Subiaga

Ah, social media. There's a lot of criticism of it; there always will be things worth criticizing. But it does prompt people to write. And at the same time it does rein in people like me who are often a little too...verbose.

Not everything that's good needs an encyclopedia to argue for it anyway. My Facebook status the other day? "More Fringe reviews to crank out! But the one for Bite Me Twilight! should be short and easy. Just how much elaboration does 'I and everyone else laughed our asses off the whole way through!' take?"

Well, that, and a little side of "Hell, with that much enjoyment it'd be a success even if it'd been a drama."

What? You'd like at least a little more?

Well, OK. Let's say the formula with this success starts with a smart choice: you can never go wrong with a parody of something that's wildly popular, especially if, despite its popularity, it splits the public into a love it/hate it dichotomy. This won't make most Twilight spoofs great by any means, since Twilight is one of those properties that's almost its own parody to begin with. But at least its an interesting start.

The next step is where it really gets interesting, however. A whole cast spoof is probably easy, since for any given character there's no shortage of talented young people wanting to give it a shot. Bella, Edward, Jacob...Between the people who love the character and try their hand at an impression, and the ones who hate that character and want to tear it down, a whole cast parody would be easy to put together. A single talented actor/comedian who can pull it off? AND give us that love-the-character/hate-the-character synthesis? Now you’re talking!
Not enough can be said about the sheer physical gifts Tom Reed has for an entire range of impressions and caricatures. The way he alters his face, his movement, his mannerisms, and his voice is astounding.

Still, that would all make a good parody, but what about more, what about something intelligent enough to be satire? The key factor piece here starts with something quite functional. Reed emphasizes that no one in the audience needs to have read the books or seen the movies, and he's right. He chooses which dialogue for his caricatures to use extremely wisely and ties these snippets together in a seamless narrative. Those who know the original might get a kick out of the comparison/contrast, those of us who don't might wonder on a detail if he's taking something literal from the storyline and parodying it, but everyone's happy. I even think those of us who don‘t know the original are better off by a little bit.

Finally, let's not forget the little embellishments. While this could have been a total one-man show, the addition of a keyboardist Jill James and the unobtrusive contribution she makes is very nice. Reed also will surprise you with twists like a physical prop to describe Edward's sparkliness, or ripping open his shirt, Jacob-like, with the abs he needs for the move and all the sweat that he's been building up from the intensity of his performance and the hot lights.

And...! Damn. "I and everyone else laughed our asses off the whole way through!" What more do you need?

Check out Bite Me Twilight! at the Mixed Blood Theatre on Monday 8/9 10:00 p.m., Saturday 8/14 7:00 p.m. Sunday 8/15 5:30 p.m. For more info or to purchase tickets click HERE.

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