Houston comedienne Tamarie Cooper's 17th show may be billed as A Very Tamarie Christmas, but the vaudevillian romp, written in collaboration with Patrick Reynolds, is a ridiculous odyssey that thumbs its nose at the stereotypes of countless holidays. The Catastrophic Theatre production opens on Thursday and runs through Aug. 30.
After five seasons of challenging, hilarious, irreverent, dark and consistently-engaging productions, the long-itinerate Catastrophic Theatre announced Tuesday that it will be putting down roots at the former DiverseWorks space in the northern reaches of downtown.
Taken by itself, Fleaven is light, fun, and very silly, but when viewed as a comic continuation of some of the themes Johnson first wrestled with in American Falls, the play takes on some added depth. Somewhere around the denouement as Flame and Heaven voice their regret for their mutual betrayal, I found myself remembering American Falls. In both plays, love easily morphs into obsession, oppression, and violence. With that violence comes the severing of community ties.
"With a tag line of 'It's the end of the world, bring on the dancing cupcakes,' this show is guaranteed to get you out of your nihilistic, post-apocalyptic summer funk. With music and lyrics by Cooper, Miriam Daly, John Duboise, Joe Folladori and Patrick Reynolds (who also wrote the book), a cast of 17 Catastrophic veterans, a band and a hefty dose of Tamarieness, what's not to like?
Perhaps it's motherhood — little Rose is 2 years old — that has unleashed a there's-nothing-I-won't-say attitude in Cooper's writing (words and lyrics also by Miriam Daly, John Duboise, Joe Folladori and Patrick Reynolds), but this particular script is even raunchier than others that came before. There's no nudity, but there's a fare share of adult innuendo. It's best to leave the kids at home.
Nancy says: "'You're on earth, there's no cure for that,' Hamm says to to Clov. Beckett is back thanks to those wonky word geeks over at Catastrophic Theatre with their uber tight production of Endgame, starring Greg Dean as Hamm, Troy Schulze as Clov, Joel Orr as Nagg and Mikelle Johnson as Nell. Directed by Jason Nodler, Endgame's title says it all. If you love language, wordplay, divine banter and humor with a falling off a cliff edge, this is a play for you.