'Point Break Live!' takes its cue from the ridiculous
by Joe Adcock
The worse it gets, the better it gets. The mooning is rude. But written on the offending butt is a polite "thank you!" The surfing and sky-diving scenes are ostentatiously tacky. But -- you tell me -- where and when has either surfing or sky diving been performed before on stage?
The car chase is on film, which is a cop-out. But such a chase! After crashing in and out of a cardboard Walgreens, one of the vehicles collides with a paper service station gas pump, resulting in an Iraq-worthy conflagration.
The tsunami in Australia is a composite of flapping blue cloth and impressionistic waves on a movie screen. But actors spray the audience with copious blasts from water rifles, which makes up in wetness for what the scene lacks in nature's grandeur.
"Point Break Live!" is a travesty version of a 1991 action adventure movie starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. The show was scheduled for a two-week run at the Northwest Film Forum's Little Theatre on Capitol Hill. So great was the audience response that the production has been extended two more weeks.
Which means that eight additional Reeves stand-ins had to be recruited. Directors Jamie Hook and Jaime Keeling have based their production on A Concept: To represent Keanu Reeves, an actor must be untrained and unrehearsed. He must be pushed from place to place by production assistants. He must read his lines (not seen until the play's in progress) from cue cards. Only thus can that irresistible Reeves vacancy be emulated.
Not all volunteers can rival the qualities that made Reeves MTV's most desirable male of 1992. But Wilbert Williams, the guy I saw in the lead last Thursday night, was plucky in both adventure and combat scenes. And he spoke much more clearly than most of his more experienced fellow performers.
A standing-room-only crowd in a 60-seat playhouse doesn't indicate universal appeal. "Point Break Live!" does, however, give a novel twist to such crowd-pleasers as pointless danger, gratuitous violence and sensational death.
The story, by the way, has to do with a maverick lawman (Reeves) who hunts down a bank-robbing gang led by a surfer guru (Swayze). In the guru role, Peter Carrs displays pecs and abs, distant gaze and distressed hair that in no way suffer by comparison with the Swayze originals.
CREATORS: Conceived and adapted by Jaime Keeling, directed by Keeling and Jamie Hook, technical direction by John Deshazo
WHERE: The Little Theatre, 608 19th Ave. E.
WHEN: Through Aug. 31
TICKETS: $12; 206-329-2629