Volume 94, Issue 79
Tuesday, February 13, 2001
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Groovealicious good time
Gazette File Photo
Chelsea & Boggs: Freakin' Control Freak Freak-Out
Starring: Rod Keith, Niki Kemeny, Jeff Culbert
By Aaron St. John
Apparently, there are some people out there who think we didn't get enough 1970s television programming during the '70s. For those people, Chelsea & Boggs is back.
The play, which had its debut this past weekend at The Black Lodge theatre and continues between Feb. 15 and 17, is the second installment in writer, director and star Rod Keith's homage to '70s cop shows.
Designed to replicate the experience of vintage primetime television viewing, complete with cheesy theme music, opening credits, commercial breaks and scenes from "the next episode," Chelsea & Boggs: Freakin' Control Freak Freak-Out has to be seen to believed. While the programs the play parodies may not have been as intentionally funny, Keith has done an excellent job of making the production feel entirely authentic.
The story involves a series of daring crimes committed by seemingly innocent people who have no recollection of their acts. Perplexed by these odd occurrences, macho detective Lester Boggs (Keith) and his sexy, brilliant partner April Chelsea (Niki Kemeny) eventually stumble onto a bizarre plot involving a magician (Jeff Culbert) and hypnotism. Along the way to the show's conclusion, there are shoot-outs, a car chase and a seemingly endless supply of witty banter just like the real thing.
Full marks must be given to everyone involved with this production for their remarkable attention to detail. The cars used in the car chase scene are absolutely brilliant; the sight of the actors inside in the cars is one of the funniest moments of the play. From the costumes and music, to the use of cardboard stereotypes as characters and the over-the-top dialogue, Chelsea & Boggs never feels like anything less than the work of people who grew up on and truly miss shows like The Rockford Files and Kojack.
As for the performers, both Keith and Kemeny are expertly cast, handling their roles with ease and evident skill. Likewise, Culbert is wonderfully flamboyant as the cleverly named Monty Draxner. Special mention must be given to the supporting cast members, particularly Tiffany Koch and Graeme Lottering, who handle a multitude of parts including, humorously, some inanimate objects.
Still, for all its strengths, the play isn't perfect. There are some fairly serious blocking problems, that probably have to do more with the space than the direction. The fact remains, though, that there are some angles from which the play is less than effective at times. Also, the flow of the show is somewhat uneven, with the second half being both funnier and better paced than the first.
Those faults aside, this installment of Chelsea & Boggs is a delightful work, the kind of thing that makes you wish you had some polyester clothing and an afro. A wholly different experience, if you're looking to actually have fun at the theatre, then check out Chelsea & Boggs while you still can. Groovy.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000