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Stage Raw: Cannibal! The Musical

Stage Raw: Cannibal! The Musical

Photo by Jami Johnson

Humankind can

be said to be divided into two, mutually exclusive populations: those

who believe South Park co-creator Trey Parker is the second coming of

Molière, and those who dismiss his loopy brand of scatological satire

as the sophomoric product of a developmentally arrested mind.

Unbeknownst to the latter, the former have rescued Parker's cinematic,

freshman effort, his 1996, feature-length, genre spoof, Alferd Packer:

The Musical, from cult obscurity and transferred it to the live stage

(most notably at last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Judging by

director Jessica Variz's rough-and-tumble version, the True Believers

should be placated; even if the film's MGM-dance-number send-ups are

irremediably absent, the surviving book, music and crude production

values are all pure Parker. The primary joke is in the inappropriate

nature of Parker's source material -- the 1874 trial of guide Alferd

Packer (Bill Woods), who was charged with surviving a harrowing

winter's stranding in the Colorado Rockies by eating the five men (Eric

Ruiter, Eric Hamme, M.S. Cliff E. Threadgold, Daniel Theyer, Andrew

Pedraza) he had been leading to the Breckenridge gold camps. Throw in a

little bestiality in the form of Packer's beloved horse, Liane (Calli

Dunaway), her human rival, Polly Pry (Sara Collins, the show's only

trained voice), the odd, puerile pun ("Fudge, Packer?"), and you have a

Trey, Trey risqué ode to the redemptive power of romantic, human love.

Garage Theatre, 251 E. Seventh St., Long Beach; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.;

thru Aug. 22, www.thegaragetheatre.org. (866) 811-4111. (Bill Raden)

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