nytheatre.com review by Michael Criscuolo
June 27, 2006
Sexadelic Cemetery, the new silent musical from the folks at Piper McKenzie Productions, is an irreverent send-up of low budget horror films, and the hippie-dippy sixties. Written and directed with tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek by Jeff Lewonczyk, and performed with real panache by a daring cast of six, this is one cemetery worth spending some time in.
Movie director Cliff Di Rossi is trying to shoot his new horror movie on location, but tons of complications keep coming up. He and the producer, Dorothy Beane, disagree on the film's overall direction (she wants to make a good-time, go-go girl exploitation movie; he wants to make an all-out gore fest). He's trying to ward off the advances of one of the actresses, the leggy Poppy Portman, while keeping his wife, Gwen "Vampirina" Di Rossi, happy. And then one of the starlets, the young, fresh-faced Sparrow Star, doses the craft service lemonade with acid, and Sexadelic Cemetery is off and running. Over the course of an hour, the members of the movie shoot all go through their own psychedelic, drug-induced trips, taking the audience inside each of their strange little minds. Since this is a horror spoof, Sexadelic Cemetery wouldn't be complete without a little bloodshed, which comes in the form of an acid trip gone bad from the most unexpected member of the group. To say more would spoil the delicious surprise. Sit back and watch the cheeky carnage unfold.
Sexadelic Cemetery is not completely silent. A lot of instrumental prog-rock from the era is used in the show. And, there is recurring faux-spooky narration from the show's omnipotent overseer, The Nightmarer. But, there's no dialogue or singing. The entire story is told through movement and dance—a nice choice by Lewonczyk that works well (and leaves the actors sweating like they've just done a full gym workout). The hilarious moves he gives the cast speak louder than any cheesy dialogue ever could. Fred Backus, Katie Brack, Hope Cartelli, Jessi Gotta, Stacia French, and Richard Harrington all get their turn in the spotlight and each of them makes the most of it. French and Gotta, in particular, do especially strong and impressive work as Dorothy and Sparrow, respectively.
Having ruled the Brick Theater for the past couple of years with their special brand of physical theatre, Piper McKenzie has a firm corner on this market. For anyone who hasn't seen them before, Sexadelic Cemetery is a perfect introduction to them. Go check them out.