It's practical joking that takes hours of revision: writing fake reviews for real productions. And Ali loves it.
By Ali Gordon
Here's something about me: I really like writing fake reviews for shows.
I write one for almost every show I've been a part of under a pseudonym, published just for my fellow castmates to see. The gist is usually that the reviewer loved the show, though he/she has misinterpreted the show to extraordinary amounts. Here's an excerpt from a fake review of a kid-friendly production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the conceit of which was a troupe of travelling actors have rolled into town to tell the tale of Charlie Bucket and company:
"The show is certainly stolen by Ali Gordon (Veruca Salt) and Josh Daniel (Mike TeeVee) who are a joy as their spoiled children, but really tug at the heartstrings in their scenes as the two troupe members watching their marriage fall apart. Mr. Daniel, as a good looking but sexually torn Mormon man, puts on a cheerful facade as he tumbles and turns and hula-hoops, but his drug addled wife (Gordon) continues to chip away at his feigned ignorance. In one particularly poignant scene in the latter half of the show, Mr. Daniel and Ms. Gordon parade on stage, seemingly all smiles, but when they cannot decide on the placement of a trunk and then symbolically place it back where it originated, it is clear they have both agreed that their relationship has come to a stand-still."
So you get the point: man sees Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, imbues it with the subtext of Angles in America, we all have a good laugh.
But last summer, I was a little more devious. I wrote a fake review for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, but instead of letting everyone know immediately that this was my handiwork, I feigned shock and horror as I spread the review around. I emailed it to our ASM and music director. I read it aloud to the cast in the car, pausing dramatically when I wanted to seem like I was hesitant to read his nasty criticisms aloud.(Fair warning: this is very ridiculous, a little crude, and all meant in good fun. Enjoy.)
Charlie Brown is Back -- Family Fun for Everyone! Well, everyone who shows up....
written by Patrick Perry in The Vermont Sun Arts and Leisure
[Author's note: just to be VERY clear: this is a very fake man writing for a very fake paper, though the Weston Playhouse is a very real theatre that mounts extraordinary shows. This fake review must not in any way color what you think of the incredible work the Weston Playhouse mounts. Deal? Deal. Read on.]
This summer, the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company's season opens with the family-friendly, classic feel-good musical, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Amidst bright costumes, shimmering young voices, clever staging, and that enduring Shultz wit, there are lessons learned and laughs to be had, resulting in a fast-paced, engaging hour-long romp your kids are sure to love. And for the adults (and the kids at heart!), there is some humor aimed at adults and avid theatre fans sure to warm even the coldest heart. That is, of course, if those Grinches would just come out with their families any more.
But I digress. The members of this year's Weston Theatre Young Company perform admirably with seemingly exhaustless energy and charm to spare. Dan DeLuca as the hapless but well-meaning Charlie Brown wins over the audience almost immediately as he waves to his friends - the familiar cast of the Peanuts gang - impervious to their jeers and taunts as he smilingly applies a sun to the sky. It is hard to imagine anyone not falling prey to his big-hearted charm, except perhaps someone who is so cold-hearted that she would maybe cheat on her husband.
At first I found it hard to warm to Clare Howes Eisentrout as Sally, but I soon realized it's because she has blonde hair like my bitchwife Jan, and not at any fault of Ms. Eisentrout's. I would like to formally apologize for scowling at her during the performance. She has a lovely voice and a firm grasp on comedic timing. Jan never had a firm grasp on anything -- whether it be reality or any part of my anatomy, if you catch my drift.
The distinctly un-blonde Ali Gordon as know-it-all Lucy was laugh-out-loud funny. Her bossy rampages reminded me a lot of women I've known in the past (like my soon to be ex-wife, Jan) but it was her blind adoration of musician Schroeder (Joey Dippel) that really warmed me to her portrayal. I thought, how nice it must be to have a woman hang on your every word, admire your every move, respect your every wish! It seems ridiculous to me that Schroeder would reject such advances since good women are so hard to come by, so I'm going to assume Schroeder is gay. I say this with not a hint of contempt, mind you! It may be better off for him in the long run, since one day he won't wake up to a text message from his wife of 13 years, reading, "Im leaving u for Marcos, coming by 4 my things later." (Note the use of the "u" -- can we say tacky!?) Oh -- and Dippel is very good, as well, mixing above-average intelligence and sophistication with child-like wonder. I bet he can please a woman with those Piano Fingers. Damn it, Jan! Is that what you want!? Is that what you always wanted!?
The set and music direction was fine, I guess.
You know what.
Jan, I know it's not all your fault. I must have pushed you away somehow.
Please, Jan. Marcos is nothing -- a mere blip in our 13 blissful (well, almost blissful) years!
I know you're reading this, Jan.
FUCK YOU JAN. YOU NEVER LIKED ANYTHING I EVER WROTE. NOTHING!
Charlie Brown runs June 21 - July 8 in the Weston Rod and Gun Club. See it, I guess. I don't know. Life is meaningless, after all.