Playwright Ruth Margraff's engrossing, surreal opus is an ungodly anime-style love child of Finnegans Wake and American Gladiators. And, although the piece's narrative imperfections and marginally impenetrable writing style threaten to overburden the show, the creativity of co-directors Richard Werner and Karen Jean Martinson's production makes for jaw-droppingly weird fun. At the Stadium Devildare, the world's superhero warriors battle for the right to win the mighty Suit of Guts and Glory. With rivals including the diabolical Frank Zappa-mustachioed Dazzler Brothers (Justin Brinsfield and Jennifer Ann Evans) and Lone Wolf Reiko (Hiwa Bourne, resplendent in a Xena cave-lady outfit), hunky American hero Game Boy Palaiologoi (Jonathan Klein) has his work cut out for himself. During the play's best moments, Werner and Martinson ensure that the stage crackles with bizarre incidents. In one battle, the Dazzler Brothers wield a gigantic, comical cardboard bulldozer that crushes all in its path, and during another, a seemingly random audience member is yanked out of her seat to be devoured by a gigantic anime snake. Unfortunately, Margraff's dialogue suffers from disjointed, dense and needlessly talky verbiage, which veers from non sequiturs to ham-fisted mock-Japanese poetry. Still, the hilarious ensemble work boasts exciting turns from Brinsfield and Evans — while the romance that develops between Game Boy and Lone Wolf is unexpectedly tender.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Feb. 15. Continues through March 23, 2008

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