Review: Tune In, Turn On, and Drop Dead! at Do or Die Mysteries

TheatreBloom rating:

Hey, man! Time to get on the same wavelength with counter-culture, man! Wake up, millennials! It’s time to photobomb the picture of tomorrow with a wicked flashback from the past, man! It’s time to expand your mind, man, and do it the right way! With kitchen counter culture and a selfie, man! And Do or Die Mysteries has it all— if you’re just prepared to Tune In, Turn On…and Drop Dead! Written and Directed by Ceej Crowe, this psychedelic smashup of 60’s counter culture and the millennial generation is totally trippy. Peace, love, and crunchy granola! Selfies, photobombs, and hashtags! Take your uppers for a filler because this one’s a killer!

Moving to the groove of the psychedelic beat, Playwright and Director Ceej Crowe not only showcases her versatility with the script, but demonstrates one of the core pillars of strength of the company— the ability to adapt to any situation. With a last-minute emergency cast replacement, due to unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances, the premise of the production was shifted on the fly. Without a disclosure regarding this fact, the audience would be none the wiser as the players handled the transition virtually flawlessly and made the new character adjustment fit the atmosphere and intent behind Crowe’s script. This precision approach to the nature of live theatre, where anything can happen, is a high benchmark for success among the company players and showcases their dedication to the iconic theatrical notion that “the show must go on!”

The Usual Suspects

A slightly smaller cast of characters by comparison to the standard of six that permeates so many of Do or Die’s productions, there are just five fictitious figures in play this round. With a slightly unbalanced gathering of millennials against the counter-culture representatives, it’s easy to see where this show might be headed…to murder, of course!

Timothy Weary Jr.

John Kelso as Timothy Weary Jr.Amanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom
John Kelso as Timothy Weary Jr.

As the son of the 60’s counter-culture icon, Timothy Weary, John Kelso totally adapts the groovy vibe of peace and free-love. Right down to the far-out pants, there is something languid about his presentation that captures the essence of the original character, his father, Timothy Weary. Kelso, who really gets his groove on with the audience during the ‘interactive intermission’ portion of the program, is on the level when it comes to portraying this out-of-sync character. His patois in particular is worth noting as it really gels with the era he’s emulating, particularly when it comes to the way he throws ‘man’ into everything he says.

Buck Avery

Matthew Wetzel as Buck AvariAmanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom
Matthew Wetzel as Buck Avari

A stereotype wrapped in a headache, Buck Avari (Matthew Wetzel) is absolutely everything that is wrong with today’s generation. Though he’s a step above the millennials and trying way too hard to relate to them— in the most hilarious way possible— Wetzel’s character is all about the greed; the almighty dollar motivates him into all sorts of ruthless situations. Could murder be one of them? Spastic and completely melotheatrical in the best way possible, Wetzel hams up his moments of play every chance he gets, and much like the rest of the cast is great when it comes to interacting with the patrons in the house.

Noodles

Erin Tarpley as AlbatrossAmanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom
Lauren Engler as Noodles

Because, like, oh my gawd!! You’re totally gonna want oodles and oodles of Noodles (Lauren Engler), riiiight? Legit millennial in every bad stereotypical way possible, Engler is channeling some serious modern-day slang and is completely obsessed with the selfie! A little on the narcissistic and vapid side with her characterization of Noodles, which is perfectly suited for the way she’s written, Engler has the audience eating out of her hand and then spewing right back into it. Her exchange with Timothy Weary Jr., regarding Viagra and whether or not it’s an upper or a downer might just win the show when it comes to comic timing and delivery.

Albatross

Erin Tarpley as AlbatrossAmanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom
Erin Tarpley as Albatross

Modeled after a Sarah Palin type right-wing conservative, Albatross (Erin Tarpley) has been contractually obligated to take part in this deplorable circus. Really hitting the nail on the head when it comes to audience interaction— and watch out because once she hits you as her target there is no stopping the hilarious interactions that will ensue— Tarpley really bristles the patrons with her whole tarty attitude and general malaise toward the other individuals involved. (She’s the absolute protagonist that we all love to hate— and if that doesn’t make her a highly suspicious character, I don’t know what does!) But do Sarah Palin types really have all the grey stuff they need to pull off something as highly complex as murder?

Lynette Frump

Ceej Crowe as Lynette FrumpAmanda N. Gunther | TheatreBloom
Ceej Crowe as Lynette Frump

Deputy Police Chief Lynette Frump (Ceej Crowe) is a flatland of deadpan wider than Texas. With her utter apathy bordering dangerously on sarcastic dry wit when it comes to the death threats involving Timothy Weary Jr., Crowe is hysterical with her sardonic and flippant responses. Honing in on audience members who want the full experience, Crowe is sharp-witted and well-paced with both her timing and her delivery, particularly when it comes to zesty and quippy one-liners that pack quite the punch.

Conclusion

Whodunit? Was it the totally self-obsessive millennial Noodles? The bitter and slightly jaded right-wing Sarah Palin bird? Or could it have been down-in-the-dumps deadpan Chief of Police Lynette Frump? What about the money-mogul producer Buck Avari? And let’s not forget the totally righteous chill master, Timothy Weary Jr. PS— one of these zany characters couldn’t have done it because they get murdered! But we don’t want to give it away, or we might find ourselves getting the slip! Be sure to catch Tune In, Turn On…and Drop Dead! So you too can catch the killer of counter-culture this November!  

Tune In, Turn On…and Drop Dead! plays its third Monday evening showing on November 21, 2016 at The Sunset Restaurant and Lounge— 625 Greenway Road SE in Glen Burnie, MD, where Do or Die Mysteries are currently in residence. Reservations are required and tickets are available for purchase by calling (443) 442- 3810 or by purchasing them online

Be sure to follow upcoming productions by visiting the Do or Die Mysteries website


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