Sunday, March 15, 2015


THE MISADVENTURES OF SPY MATTHIAS (skulking through April 4th) is a heartwarming, thigh slapping, eye rolling love story. Scrap that. It’s a flagrantly naughty cautionary tale…Nah. Not unless you are inclined to heed voices from another dimension. I shall try again.

Joe Byers’ hilarious sexual (not to mention ontological) romp is hitched to the perfect production at Theatre on Fire. Terry Torres and director Darren Evans’ satirical projections (engineered by Deirdre Benson) play on three screens above the actors, punctuating and enhancing the madness beneath. Torres and Evans match every demented idea Byers throws at the play with equally absurd animations.

Greg Maraio is simply irresistible as the spy/guy who finds love in all the wrong places. Better make that ‘lust’ (until at long last, love). I laughed and laughed: Mind you, I wanted to stop, for fear of missing the next funny line, but I couldn’t despite myself. (I suspect Nitrous Oxide was somehow involved.)

Each of Byers’ characters seems to have a delightfully preposterous world to inhabit apart from any interaction with Matthias, making you yearn to see them again, rather like the caterpillar or the Cheshire cat in Alice’s Wonderland. I’m still giggling over R. Nelson Lacey’s yodeling, karaoke-loving, marvelously unprofessional physician….or Steve Auger’s brilliantly brazen, foot-whispering shoe salesman.

And I haven’t even touched on Janelle Mills’ two tour de force(s) as Matthias’ crazy, missing mother and his belligerent, gravel-voiced father…or Adam Siladi’s creepy disabled veteran or Michael Ryan’s chronically depressed actor. (Is there any other kind?)

Because Theatre on Fire has burned successfully through ten years, tix are $10 and the laughter is free. Who could resist such a deal?