BWW Review: Seattle Public's INDY JONES Spotlights the Raiders of a Lost Art
Dear Readers, remember way back in December when the crazy minds of The Habit showed up at Seattle Public Theater with one of the most hysterical parodies ever, "A Very Die Hard Xmas"? Well I'm thrilled to tell you that they're back, this time tackling the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" movies (minus "Crystal Skull" since that one was an abomination) and showing off how amazing they are at the lost art of satire with the brilliant "Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Last Temple of the Doomed Ark".
Director, Producer and Composer Mark Siano, Music Director John Kranz, and Playwrights Jeff Schell and Ryan Dobosh, follow archeologist Indiana Jones (Casey Raiha) as they tackle all three movies (mostly the first one). Indy, along with his old flame Marion (Helen Roundhill) must track down the lost Ark of the Covenant before the evil Nazis get to it. If he only hadn't lost his wallet.
But then you know the movies. You know what happens. But the way these escapees from the loony bin deliver it, it's a thrill ride compared to riding in a mine car through a dilapidated mine with Short Round (yeah, that's there). With running gags like the ever tenacious boulder or the overly giddy Nazi Belzig, the show will have you rolling on the floor with laughter for a good two hours and all the way home. I know my theater companion and I kept quoting lines throughout the car ride. But that's what good satire does, it sticks with you. And the boys in The Habit certainly know how to manage good satire (so few really do anymore).
And just like with "Die Hard" they manage to perform this action movie within the confines of Seattle Public Theater's intimate stage by keeping the "special effects" on the small side in hilariously inventive ways. They can't get a real Well of Souls with the beam of light indicating the location of the Ark, or melt someone's face off on stage, so they simply ... well, I don't want to spoil it for you. But with Ron Darling and Jennifer Ewing's set, Valerie Snyder's costumes, props from Robin Macartney, lights from Dani Norberg and sound from Rob Witmer and Evan Mosher, you'll feel like you're actually in this most surreal version of "Raiders ..." complete with snakes, planes, guns, Nazis, and of course that boulder.
Raiha delivers the perfect blend of swagger and sly smirks to make this Indy shine and keep you giggling. And Roundhill as the damsel in distress who doesn't really need to be rescued is a delight and combines with Raiha for some insane chemistry. But it's the rest of the ensemble (Izzy Schonfeld, Brandon Felker, Hisam Goueli, John Kranz, M. Keala Milles Jr., Gaby Sanchez Samano, Mark Siano, Sue Slakter, and Justine Stillwell) who make this show as great as it can be by taking on multiple roles throughout and keeping the craziness flying. And I must call out Felker who tackled a pedestal, a monkey, and the aforementioned giddy Nazi (and so many more) with outstanding comedic chops, and Schonfeld who said very little but kept us rolling as the ... no, I don't want to say. You'll just have to see for yourself.
And you should see for yourself. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give Seattle Public Theater's production of "Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Last Temple of the Doomed Ark" a still laughing about how "problematic" things are, YAY+. I know it's nice out, and you may have outdoorsy things to do but take a break to catch this. And tickets are going fast so you'd better hurry. You'll be sad if you miss it. Sadder than some guy who just lost a drink/dance battle to Marion.
"Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Last Temple of the Doomed Ark" performs at Seattle Public Theater through September 15th. For tickets or information, visit them online at www.seattlepublictheater.org.