A wacky, riotous and cacophonous musical experience, in the vein of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Forbidden Zone: Live In The 6th Dimension is currently playing at Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood.
Forbidden Zone [FZ6D ] follows Frenchy Hercules through a basement door into the Sixth Dimension where the lusty King Fausto falls in love with her. The Sacred Fools production, adapted by Michael Holmes, features the original score as well as songs cut from the film.
Directed by Scott Leggett, and based on the 1982 campy film directed by Richard Elfman – with music by his composer brother Danny Elfman and screenplay by Richard Elfman, Mathew Bright, et al., – this world premier theatrical event is the first daring attempt to present this 80s cult movie musical live on stage.Â Leggert and his hard-working team have adapted Richard Elfman’s magnificent midnight movie, bringing back to life the demented and delirious denizens of the Sixth Dimension in a revamped and hyper-energized form.
FZ6D features every vocal number from the film and even includes songs that were cut from the initial film release. FZ6D represents the original score of maestro Danny Elfman and his colleagues from the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.
While many have attempted to bring this cult classic to the live stage, this is the World Premiere production, featuring an expanded script that delves into the motivations of King Fausto (played by Scott Smith) and the residents of the Sixth Dimension as they encounter the visitors from the World Above.
Twin bands of eight musicians each have been assembled so that no matter the circumstances of the evening, the show you experience will be executed with wild abandon and professional aplomb as the astonishing cast of sixteen singers, dancers and actors is put through their paces presenting the widest array of choreography and madcap music you have ever experienced in a 99-seat theater.
Performing as the show”™s MC/Narrator and resident Satan, Marz Richards prances about in spangly circus ringmaster”™s garb and keeps the witty banter cracking with his Joker-style perma-grin and channeling Tim Curry, minus the fishnet stocking and garter belt.
The large cast of sixteen brings plenty of energy and enthusiasm to the show, if not always high-caliber talent”¦ We see flamboyant pimps fresh off the set of the Starsky and Hutch 70s TV show; a blonde, busty, bitchy and perpetually topless dominatrix Princess (Erin Holt); an evil Queen (Alyssa Preston); a bevy of bikini girls; dead babies; a sexy French au-pair (Rebecca Larsen); bizarre creatures such as a tap-dancing, gibberish-talking Frog/Man (Gregory Guy Gorden); a boy scout a la Uncle Fester; masked harem babes who dine seductively on bananas as well as a whole slew of additional colorful characters.
A laugh riot from beginning to end, some of the dialogue was deliciously anti-PC, including priceless lines such as, “Your brother – he only acts like a broad. He”™s a faggot!”Â While anti-Semitic caricatures also abound, the show also gets a lot of comic mileage out of a shoot-out at a school, which, of course, is only hilarious if you don”™t know anyone who died that way (!)Â But there is also a fantastic incidental dance number between the teacher and two of the cool kids busting out with laconic break-dancing moves.
The pretty gal playing Frenchy (Rebecca Larsen) was a real standout with her exquisite singing, spot-on outrageous French accent and graceful classical ballet moves. As the Evil Queen Doris, Alyssa Preston blows the roof of the joint with her powerful performance. Prancing about topless for the entire show, the Princess may have had great (and gorgeously real) boobs, but her singing was frequently strident and off-key.Â Guess you can”™t have it all!
Unfortunately, the sound mix was incredibly poor, and this is quite a serious problem for a musical that features a live band of eight musicians and a large cast of singers. While the sound crew coped well with a few technical issues, the sound mix was so muddy at times that the lyrics were difficult to decipher. Add to that the painfully loud levels and you have one slightly annoyed critic plugging her ears.Â But it seems that everyone else in the audience was digging the cacophony”¦ (Just bring earplugs if you are sensitive to raucous entertainment.)
There aren”™t really any memorably catchy original tunes that you hum on your way out of the theatre, unless you count classics such as “Beautiful Dreamer” and “Minnie the Moocher” with re-tooled lyrics.
It”™s messy, chaotic, sexy, bawdy, lewd and loud, but Forbidden Zone: Live In The 6th Dimension is lots of fun.
Forbidden Zone is a 1982 musical comedy film based upon the stage performances of the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.
Originally shot on black-and-white film, the story of Forbidden Zone involves an alternate universe accessed through a door in the house of the Hercules family. Directed by Richard Elfman, who co-wrote the film with fellow Mystic Knights member Matthew Bright, it was the first film scored by his brother, composer Danny Elfman.
Forbidden Zone was made as an attempt to capture the essence of The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo’s live performances on film. Amid negative reactions to content in the film that had been perceived as being offensive, the film was screened as a midnight movie, received positive notice, and developed a cult following. In 2004, the film was digitally restored, and in 2008, the film was colorized.
Forbidden Zone: Live In The 6th Dimension
Sacred Fools Theater
660 N. Heliotrope Dr., Los Angeles, CA, 90004.
runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. until June 28th, 2010
plus Sundays, June 13th & 20th, 7pm
Tickets are $25, available online or by calling 310-281-8337
Sacred Fools is dedicated to creating and fostering a dynamic, empowered artistic community in Los Angeles. The company was recently nominated for 16 awards for recent productions by the L.A. Weekly.Â Notable previous productions include the brilliant silent satire of Shakespeare Hamlet Shut Up!, the ongoing late-night episodic extravaganza Serial Killers, and the award-winning musical Louis & Keely. Sacred Fools is run solely by the ensembled artists. We have an ongoing commitment to the development of new plays and projects which challenge traditional expectations of the theatrical experience. Our goal is to produce work that invigorates, enlightens and entertains.
Review by Pauline Adamek