LOS ANGELES TIMES
June 4, 2004
"I self-destruct on explanation" is the unanswerable disclaimer of two characters in Kirk Wood Bromley's dizzyingly word-crammed crackpot cartoon "Midnight Brainwash Revival." This might be Bromley's defense, too, since his effusively kooky writing defies close scrutiny, even as his high-wire wordplay rewards amused attention. Indeed, with a sensational cast under director Alexander Yannis Stephanos' expert guidance, "Midnight" see-saws with near-perfect balance between gleeful scatology and tongue-twisting linguistic trickery--something like an episode of "South Park" as written by Mac Wellman.
The sleepy desert town of Moab, Utah--which in reality as in the play sits near megatons of buried nuclear waste--is under threat from an evil developer with a pesky traveling tumor and, in Christopher Paul Hart's droll performance, a ticklish verbal dexterity.
An alliance with Moab's right-wing mayor (Dan Etheridge) stumbles when a hippie huckster (Joe Jordan) slips the mayor a funny cigar. And the plot to buy the land from its city-fied heir (Eric Giancoli) snags on the resistance of his conscientious sister (Jacy Gross) and the pretty persuasion of a local cowboy (Liesel Kopp).
Along the way we meet a pair of hapless mercenaries (Paul Plunkett, Mark McClain Wilson), a confused cross-dresser (Ted DeVirgilis), a trio of airheaded tourists (Gary Ballard, M.E. Dunn, Annie Abrams), a strident city broad (Diana Jellinek), a ditzy flunkie (Philip Wofford), a soft-hearted cop (Adam Harrington) and a shape-shifting trickster (Kyle Ingleman).
Scurrying tirelessly around Dunn's Wile E. Coyote set, this motley bunch nails Bromley's animated metier with utter conviction, if not explication.
"Midnight Brainwash Revival," Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Hollywood. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. $15. (310) 281-8337. Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes.