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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Love Bites: Arizona Repertory Theater’s ‘Bat Boy’ impresses audiences

    Courtesy+of+Arizona+Repertory+Theatre
    Courtesy of Arizona Repertory Theatre

    Fans of dark humor and zany comedy should ditch the movies and look to the stage. The latest in campy cult classic fun is Arizona Repertory Theatre’s “Bat Boy: The Musical.”

    It all begins when some meddling kids trying to smoke weed while spelunking stumble across a creature — half vampire bat, half boy. Logically, the next step is to take it to the town veterinarian, whose wife renames the creature Edgar and gives him some BBC language tapes to make him a part of the family. This is no Rodgers and Hammerstein. “Bat Boy” isn’t a fairy tale retold but an adaptation of the Weekly World News tabloid’s faux articles on the creature.

    Michael Schauble brings the Bat Boy to life. The sheer number of calories he must burn by bounding about the stage and hanging off railings is impressive in and of itself.

    Physical feats aside, the emotional range Schauble bring to “Bat Boy” is what makes the show more than just a good time.

    The entire cast has great comedic timing. Schauble’s chemistry with Cait Kiley, who plays Edgar’s mother, is truly something to see. Other standouts included Brenna Wagner as teenage daughter Shelley and Ryan Kleinman as the duplicitous Dr. Parker.

    The show shines in its creative choices, which invoke its tabloid roots. “Bat Boy” pulls no punches. Instead, it embraces all things fake, showy and over the top. The costumes contain influences from headline-grabbing stars over the years such as Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball, Britney Spears and Snooki.

    Bathed in neon lights, an actor may switch from being a bad boy with a dumb streak one minute to a pregnant smoker the next. It doesn’t matter if he’s clean-shaven enough to appear expecting because the show is intelligently self-aware, playing off humanity’s obsession with appearance for comedic effect.

    Music and lyrics are by Laurence O’Keefe and the book is by Brian Flemming and Keythe Farley.

    “Bat Boy” isn’t for those easily offended by next-to-naked actors, seemingly senseless violence or stuffed animals knowing one another in a biblical way. But those who frequent The Loft Cinema or know every line to “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” are likely to find a new favorite in “Bat Boy.”

    It’s smart slapstick and a deftly done dumb comedy with a depth that sneaks up on its audience. By stimulating its viewers with a freak show composed of sex, violence and rock ‘n’ roll, “Bat Boy” is able to force its audience members to think about their own urges as the final song cautions them to not deny their “beast within.”

    ARIZONA REPERTORY THEATRE’S ‘BAT BOY’ IF YOU GO

    Where: Tornabene Theatre

    When: Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a pre-show discussion at Thursday’s performance, Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and shows continuing until April 29.

    Cost: Student tickets are $21, senior, military or UA employee tickets are $29 and regular admission tickets are $31

    For ticket information: Contact the UA Fine Arts Box Office at 621-1162 or arizona.tix.com.

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