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  •  REVIEW: CARROT AND STICK

    Carrot and Stick

    Grin and carrot

    "Carrot and Stick" is a fun-filled romantic comedy that feels like a children's story told for adults.

    By JOSEPH LANGHAM
    Offoffoff.com

    Using a combination of carnival sideshow, clowning, vaudeville and general kookiness Chris Alonzo's Carrot and Stick makes for one very light, fun and overall entertaining evening. The audience is greeted by a barker with a hat and cane shouting and berating the audience in that most typical of barker ways, "Step right up, folks. Find your seats. The show is about to begin. You sir, take your seat now." A lovely lady accompanies him onstage with a cardboard carrot dangling on a string from a stick. Then we meet our hero, Conrad, a man with a mission, a man who just couldn't take his seat and stay there. He just had to take the carrot, didn't he?

      
    CARROT AND STICK
    Company: Suburban Vampire.
    Written by: Chris Alonzo.
    Directed by: Joel Jeske.
    Cast: Eric Alean Scott, Alexis Toone, Chris Alonzo, Juliet Schaefer-Jeske, Bina Chauhan, Jeremiah!.

    Related links: Official site
     SCHEDULE
    Kraine Theater
    85 East 4th St. near 2nd Ave.
    Aug. 8-24, 2003

    What follows is a journey that can be summed up quite simply, but will take many sentences. It is a journey across town to see his girl. He must have wine, a rose and some whiskey by the time he arrives. Sounds like a fun date! So, off we go meeting all kinds of madcap, loony characters on the way who all, somewhat unwittingly, help him to obtain the items desperately needed for the date. We meet a burglar who convinces him to assist burgling. The burglar then falls in love with his victim. Conrad then falls strangely and wonderfully into the street where he is struck by a cardboard Mercedes driven by the maddest most neurotic woman ever created. After this he somehow meets a dead comedian who can't stop telling really bad jokes. And, finally, after journeying the journey of the damned, he obtains his items and goes to meet his girlfriend after she gets off of work. Whew. What a day.

    The show feels like a children's story told for adults. It is truly quite simple in its complexities, and it is a blast. Most of the acting is absolutely top-notch. Jeremiah!'s portrayal of Eddie the dead comedian is spot-on and makes us laugh every time he does the ol' "DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYIN', PEOPLE?". Kitzler, the drunken former one-hit-wonder bandleader, is played by Juliet Schaefer-Jeske with such expert souse-iness, that she makes Karen from "Will & Grace" look absolutely sober. Top honors for the evening go to Bina Chauhan. She pulls off a character so maladjusted and manic with such sudden mood swings, that the belly laughs overcome the audience one after the other.

    Joel Jeske's direction is very nice and very tight. Seamless scene changes, fun cardboard props and excellent use of unengaged cast members as stagehands makes for an effortless evening for the audience. The writing was very fun and quirky in and of itself, with only one small complaint. The realistic ending was a real downer. It was not a bad ending, just a bummer. After falling so in love with the bizarre, cartoony, clownish world of "Carrot and Stick," the stark realism of the ending really brought us back to Earth much too rapidly. They even got rid of the cardboard props. Why? Despite the ending, this is a show not to miss. It is light and airy, goofy and silly, and keeps you thoroughly entertained for the entire run time.

    AUGUST 19, 2003
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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