CARROT AND STICK
nytheatre.com review by Richard Hinojosa
"A vaudevillian romp" is the hook line for
Carrot and Stick. I have to admit when it comes to vaudeville I
prefer it in the form of a cartoon, and the term "romp" only makes me
think of bad teenage panty movies like Porky’s. But to my great pleasure
Carrot and Stick is an outrageously entertaining comedy. It nails
the two birds of smart and ridiculous with one stone, right between the
August 15, 2003
The cast is excellent! I find it difficult to single out individuals because the producing company, Suburban Vampire Productions, is most obviously a collaboration of exceptionally creative forces. But here goes.
Our main character Conrad, played with tremendously sweaty energy by writer/actor Chris Alonzo, is trying to get across town to meet his girlfriend for a date. On the way he meets a burglar (Eric Alan Scott) who teaches him the "burglar code of ethics" through a clever song. Scott is a funny, physical actor with a powerful voice. Together they meet Ms. Kitzler (Juliet Schaefer-Jeske), a washed-up celebrity turned alcoholic. Schaefer-Jeske creates a brilliant character who embodies the very definition of kitsch. Conrad finally escapes these two, only to be run down by Courtney (Bina Chauhan). How shall I put this… Chauhan’s performance is so hilarious, so uproarious, that when her scene was over I wanted to stand up and beg her to do it again. If only there was a rewind button for live theater. Finally, Conrad meets Eddie (Jeremiah!), who is a dead comedian complete with dead jokes. Jeremiah! crafts a unique and funny character out of what I thought to be the weakest part of the script.
I love a strange story but not all of this script worked for me. The middle was great! The ending I didn’t care for. It wasn’t funny and was anti-climactic. I am familiar with Alonzo’s work. He is a writer of uncommon genius. This one just needs a little work. I read in the press release that he is from Austin, Texas. They must put something in the water down there because every artist I’ve met from there is amazingly talented. I would like to see two things happen to this show: 1) live music instead of the often too loud canned music, and 2) packed houses for as long as these extremely gifted performers care to run this downright entertaining show.