Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: Joel Schumacher Directs Virtual Reality Drama NEIGHBORHOOD 3: REQUISITION OF DOOM

Earlier this year, playwright Jennifer Haley seriously creeped out Off-Broadway audiences with her futuristic drama, THE NETHER, where an advanced version of the Internet makes it possible for pedophiles to act out their fantasies in a virtual world without children being involved, bringing up the question of whether or not an offense is being committed.

Eric Folks and Madeline Mahoney (Photo: Hunter Canning)

Now The Flea Theater is presenting an earlier work where she also delves into a futuristic word of virtual reality, NEIGHBORHOOD 3: REQUISITION OF DOOM. The plot has all the makings of a mindlessly chilling summer movie blockbuster. In a typically average suburban cul-de-sac, teenagers are obsessing over the third version of a popular video game that recreates each player's neighborhood with exacting detail, including their own homes.

Players win points by finding hidden weapons, torturing pets and killing zombies who bear striking resemblances to their neighbors. The point is that adults are unaware of the kind of game their children are playing and the kids are losing their ability to differentiate between what's real and what's virtual. The results, naturally, get bloody.

Such a scenario seems ripe for a production that will take full advantage of modern stage technology, but The Flea's mounting is low-budget affair played on a colorful, but static, unit set.

Hollywood director Joel Schumacher (ST. ELMO'S FIRE, BATMAN FOREVER), who has no theatre credits in his bio, helms a company of fifteen young non-union actors; The Flea's resident company known as The Bats. Lackluster staging makes the actors seem crammed into the 70-minute play that's made of loosely connected scenes, each involving a handful of characters, and the evening comes off looking like a college-level acting showcase, with twentysomethings playing both teens and their parents.

If NEIGHBORHOOD 3: REQUISITION OF DOOM is in anyway as intriguing as THE NETHER, there's no way to tell based on this under-guided production.

MacGyver Contest

Related Articles

From This Author - Michael Dale

After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours... (read more about this author)

Sunday Morning Michael Dale: Steph Del Rosso's Sharp Social Commentary, 53% Of, Takes On Added Significance After Supreme Court Rulings
July 3, 2022

The title refers to the 53% of white women who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, but that's just the starting point.

Sunday Morning Michael Dale: 1909 Typist Turned Playwright Elizabeth Baker Writes of Chasing Your Dreams in Chains
June 26, 2022

The Mint brings back another forgotten gem by Elizabeth Baker and Martha Clarke explores the Biblical playboy who tossed it all.

Sunday Morning Michael Dale: Madhuri Shekar's Fascinating Moralistic Drama Queen Explores The Flexibility of Truth
June 19, 2022

We're told that numbers don't lie, but when the numbers conflict with what we see in front of us, are they really telling the truth?

Sunday Morning Michael Dale: Best Friends Become Two Unlikely (or Maybe Perfectly Matched) Lovers (or Maybe Not) in Reality-Based Musical Straight Forward
June 12, 2022

Billy Aberle and Chris Sabol's Straight Forward is an original musical inspired by an article by Mike Iamele that went viral on social media in 2014, explaining how he began developing romantic and sexual feelings for his male best friend Garrett Lech, despite them both identifying as straight.

Sunday Morning Michael Dale: Mara Vélez Meléndez's Notes on Killing... A Subversive Burst of Creative Energy
June 5, 2022

Count Christine Carmela Herrero and Samora La Perdida as early favorites for Stage Pair of The Season, as they crackle with chemistry in Mara Vélez Meléndez's playfully packaged political outrage.