Thursday, February 19, 2009

HELLO HUMAN FEMALE has opened !!!

Theater review: Audacity Theatre Lab pushes the wacky button with 'Hello Human Female'

12:45 AM CST on Thursday, February 19, 2009
By LAWSON TAITTE / The Dallas Morning News

Matt Lyle has reinvented romantic comedy for the 21st century in plays where the romance is as whacked out as the comedy.

Sadly, Lyle moved his Bootstraps Comedy Theater from Dallas to Chicago last year, but Dallas still got the world premiere of his newest tasty weirdness on Wednesday. Audacity Theatre Lab opened Hello Human Female at the Ochre House in Exposition Park with the playwright and his wife and frequent leading lady, Kim Lyle, back in town for the occasion.

Lyle directed his previous two triumphs, Sunny and Eddie Sitting in a Tree and The Boxer, as well as writing them. So it was an open question whether Audacity founder Brad McEntire could whip the new script up to the same sort of post-Valentine, post-modern mushy madness.

Suffice it to say, he could and did. With a few of the old Bootstraps hands in tow and some other formidable talent on hand, as well, Hello Human Female is just as charmingly sappy, just as tartly silly, as its predecessors.

In the new piece, evil scientist Dr. Gorn (Jeremy Whiteker) uses an online dating site to lure Tamela (Arianna Movassagh), a 37-year-old virgin, to his bunker so he can work his vile experiments on her. When Tamela arrives, however, she is more taken with Dr. Gorn's subhuman creation, Blork (Jeff Swearingen). Gorn lets Blork and Tamela depart in the first flush of their mutual infatuation.

Alas, Tamela's over-protective mother (Whiteker again, this time in drag and an even worse wig) interferes and parts the new couple. The two incipient (but never, or hardly ever, insipid) lovers search high and low for each other. Blork encounters a young boy, Timmy (Becca Shivers), who has the mistaken impression that Blork is a dog. But Billy's Gramps (Scott Milligan) won't let his grandson keep his newfound pet. (Neither seems to notice that Blork can talk, albeit in harsh bleats.)

Lyle and McEntire load this tale with all kinds of sight jokes, sound jokes, song jokes and every other kind of joke you can imagine. Even the longest and strangest unfailingly get their laughs, although the outtakes after the curtain call do go on a little too long. All the performers do their silly bits brilliantly, but special credit goes to Movassagh and Swearingen for letting us believe in this weird pair's chemistry even as we yuck it up.

Hello Human Female runs through March 7 at Ochre House, 825 Exposition Ave. Runs 130 mins. $12 to $15. 469-236-2726,

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