ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Chelsea & Boggs shake it down
By Christopher Hodge
Chelsea & Boggs, Episode 7: "Super-Mama Shake-down!"
Starring: Niki Kemeny, Rod Keith, Anne-Marie Caicco and Jonathan De Souza
Directed by: Rod Keith and Kaila Jarmain
The 1970s has been making a brief appearance at The Grand Theatre all this week.
Complete with 8-Tracks and references to big honking cars, the pimpin' '70s serves as the inspiration for the new campy cop drama, Chelsea & Boggs, Episode 7: "Super-Mama Shake-Down!." Even if you weren't born in the '70s, you'll still want to check out this retro flash-back, because, unlike television, there is no such thing as a re-run in live theatre.
The play follows the exploits of the smooth-talking, jive-walking, pistol-carrying, jock cop Fester Boggs (Keith) and his super smart, super sassy side-kick Chelsea (Kemeny). Set in the fictitious backdrop of Pacific City, the dynamic cop duo swap clever one-line zingers and thwart evil-doers, while giving the audience the feeling their relationship may develop into more than simply "partners."
Episode 7 pits the super duo against the devious mad scientist Dr. Mannheim (De Souza), whose doomsday device threatens to destroy the world. Meanwhile, their investigation is complicated by the coincidental appearance of one of Boggs's old high school flames, as well as the mysterious super heroine, Liberty Lady (both played by Caicco). To make matters worse, Chelsea and Boggs are assigned to work with agent Trevor Coldman (Morris), an astronaut-turned-government spook, whom Boggs suspects knows more then he lets on.
Chelsea & Boggs utilizes the talents of each actor in favour of placing a heavy emphasize on time-specific props and sets to establish a retro atmosphere. The almost volcanic acting performances make up for the somewhat bare stage.
Each character is a hyper-satirized version of a typical cop show drama archetype. The mad scientist is very mad; the super heroine, very super. Actions are extenuated, lines emphasized, arms flailed and facial features contorted to give each character a comic book feel. A few loose, bold, psychedelic sheets remind us this is a play based in the '70s, but it's the characters who take us there.
Although a few of the set props appear to be have been purchased at yard sales or constructed using cardboard and bits of old junk, they too act as perfect accessories to further emphasize the drama. Even the sound effects, which are created off-stage using a mic and the sound director's vocal talents, add to the joyful, campy feel of the play.
One of the highlights of Chelsea & Boggs is the unsuspecting and hilarious sky-diving scene. It's a silly, colourful, yet brilliantly comedic scene incorporating a few memorable props, including what looks like old Barbies, some cardboard cut-outs of clouds and a bit of imagination on the audience's part. To describe the scene in print does not serve it justice - it's just that good, and it's got to be if the actors struggle to have their lines heard over the audience's uncontrollable laughter.
Chelsea & Boggs is a lot of bang for only a few bucks. Tickets can be purchased at The Grand Theatre. The play runs until Nov. 22. Bell bottoms are optional.