Point Break Live!
nytheatre.com review by Robin Reed
February 11, 2006
Sitting at a bar can be so boring. What better way to spice up this age-old pastime than to have over-the-top '80s movies acted out right before your eyes?!
Well, now you can have it! The 1991 Keanu Reeves/Patrick Swayze surfer cult-hit Point Break is in the process of becoming an off-off-Broadway hit with Point Break Live!, at Galapagos in Williamsburg! It’s a no-brainer, really. Take a movie that practically everybody has seen many, many times and throw the highlights up on stage with some quirky “special effects.” I wish I had thought of it!
The most genius part of all is in the casting—the role of FBI Special Agent John 'Johnny' Utah is played by a member of the audience, chosen by applause-o-meter by the audience. He is coached and fed cue cards by a gal who is dressed up as what looks like an American Apparel model. Part production assistant, part eye candy, she is an entertaining part of the show, a seeing-eye dog of sorts to the wide-eyed yet blindsided leading man.
Sounds great, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. A great idea is one thing, but a sharp execution is key. And this is where the production falls a little short.
On the night I attended there seemed to be a rash of unfortunate technical glitches. Either the sound system or the actors’ microphones didn’t work and it was impossible to hear some scenes over the din of a bustling bar. The scenes being shot on a live-feed video weren’t lit which left most of the audience staring at an incredibly dark screen while what sounded like action was going on in the Galapagos reflecting pool. Video feeds weren’t working either and although the actor playing the Patrick Swayze role was a real champ trying to cover it, the energy of the audience as a whole dipped when we sensed that things were going wrong left and right. One or two problems can be overlooked and forgotten; more than a handful makes me start to think they didn’t get in a lot of rehearsal.
While casting Johnny Utah from the audience is brilliant, there is another casting choice I just couldn’t get my mind around. A little girl, about 8-10 years old, plays the part of Tyler, played in the film by Lori Petty. She was cute and all, but kids in bars is just really strange to me. And they didn’t give her a microphone, or her little voice didn’t reach the ones being used.
But you know, all in all, it’s not a bad way to spend ten bucks and 90 minutes. The skydiving scene alone is worth the price of admission. Yes, I said skydiving scene. I told you there were special effects!