Monday, March 08, 2010

Last Life

Rod Kinter's athletic fight choreography for Last Life, one of the hits of The Brick's recent Fight Festival now enjoying a short encore run at The Ohio, is viscerally exciting and technically impressive (and it's far more convincingly executed than what I'm used to seeing on stage). There's also plenty of it - the show hasn't dubbed itself a "fightsical" for nothing. The rough, decidedly R-rated violent smackdowns are underscored with percussive bursts of music, the way they would be in a film: the sometimes edge-of-your-seat stage combat is the main reason for the play and sure to satisfy action-seekers. Tim Haskell's direction adds great additional vitality thanks to a striking meta-theatrical presentation: for much of the play, the actors are seated facing the audience while delivering their lines to each other. Even cooler is a conceit that regularly has the actors freeze mid-fight while an effects guy applies stage blood. Eric Sanders' script is not always entirely clear in laying out the backstory of the characters and the post-apocalyptic setting, but it does what it needs to do in setting up the combat scenes and it wisely does so with some mitigating humor. Special shout-out to lead actor Taimak Guarriello who, whether delivering deadly roundhouse kicks or spoofing an infomercial with tongue in cheek, capably handles his role's varied demands.

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