nytheatre.com review by Heather McAllister
February 19, 2010
Wake Up Marconi!'s The Weird is a little rough around the edges, entertaining, and—oddly—not too weird. As promised, six short plays by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa are presented, their inspiration drawn from the horror/morality tales seen in classic horror comics and films such as Tales from the Crypt, Creep Show, etc. Mostly, the pieces presented come with a moral, with the bad or the bold getting their comeuppance. And much like the sources they are based on, the short plays are broad and campy: some will make you gasp, some will make you laugh. The pieces are connected by M.T. Grave, a kind of hottie Cryptkeeper, winking at the audience as he introduces and then sums up the pieces with plenty of bad puns and corny props.
The first piece is an homage to a scene from Twilight Zone: The Movie mixed with Friday the 13th lore. Allison Hirschlag plays the annoyingly perky girlfriend, while Lucky Gretzinger is the annoyingly smug boyfriend. It's a nice setup for us to gleefully await their chastisement, either via Bloody Mary, a Jason Voorhees wannabe, or their poor driving decisions.
The second play begins as a nice take on The Fly mixed with forbidden office love. Melissa Pinsly and Matthew Cohn are wonderfully understated and repressed with carnal longings, and it's a great setup, but ultimately this piece peters out with no real ending.
Next is a ten-minute Rosemary's Baby, with Hirschlag as Girl, Cohn as her husband Boy, Pinsly as Woman, and Mark Stetson as Man. Pinsly does a good Ruth Gordon and overall the piece is cute, but the ten minutes seems a bit long.
Fourth is a kind of Swamp Thing by way of Tennessee Williams, with Hirschlag quite over the top as a lusty plantation mistress, and some nice spooky makeup effects by Emily Lynn on the brother played by Gretzinger. This one has the strongest ending, and a nice performance from Cohn as the Fraternity Brother.
Following that comes a gross-out piece, with Pinsly and Stetson as a miserable Southern couple, and Gretzinger as the hunky midnight repairman who charges quite a price for his work.
The final piece is a take on the Super Friends with influence from The Incredibles. Although Pinsly makes a cute Supergirl, and Stetson is funny as an obsequious waiter, I didn't think this piece belonged in the lineup.
Overall, it is a fun evening, and with a little time I'm sure this piece will settle nicely into its horror comic groove.