Kong: A Goddamn Thirty-Foot Gorilla

Adam Hahn's spoofy homage to King Kong, the 1933 creature feature about a colossal gorilla that is captured and then runs amok in New York City, is an ambitious undertaking. Just how do you depict a giant ape onstage without stop-motion animation trickery and cinema magic? Director Jaime Robledo's brand of creative staging and low-tech gimmickry include trompe l'oeil shifts in perspective and scale. So when platinum blonde, bewigged scream queen Anne (Sara Kubida) is in the grip of Kong's giant paw, the actor playing Kong (all snuffles and primal bellowing from Germaine De Leon) can be seen clutching a Barbie doll. Cast members tilt and sway in unison to suggest the passage of a ship. Tifanie McQueen's scenic and prop designs are minimal and effective, and curiously less complicated to reset than the lengthy scenes in front of the curtain should warrant. Yet some of these odd scenes, including shipman Jack Driscoll's (Eric Curtis Johnson) confessions to an AA meeting and the Skull Island native chief (Arden Haywood) shedding his headdress to instruct us about "race" movies from the 1930s, offer some deliciously amusing rewards. Audience members are enlisted into the air squadron for Kong's Empire State Building-set climactic demise with a supply of do-it-yourself paper airplanes. SkyPilot Theatre Company at T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo St., N. Hlywd.; Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through Nov. 25. (800) 838-3006, SkyPilotTheatre.com.
Saturdays, Sundays. Starts: Oct. 20. Continues through Dec. 9, 2012

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