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Friday, August 15, 2003

Review: "Psychos In Love" Adapted For The Stage By Rob Matsushita

I'm gonna start this by saying I'm biased here, okay?

I mean, Rob Matsushita, the guy who adapted the 1987 movie Psychos In Love into this play, is one of my best friends, and I've known him for about 18 years now. (PLUS, I mean, we're writing a damned BOOK together... AND I am friendly with both his mother AND his wife, so I can't exactly TRASH him here...)


I have spoken to both the movie's co-writer and director, Gorman Bechard, as well as it's star, co-writer and music composer, Carmine Capobianco.

UE's own resident human deity and all around slimmed-down statue of sexiness, Pope Buck I is the STAR...

I had drinks with Herman on Friday night.

I met and shook hands with Kate and Detective Sargant Harding.

Oh yeah, and I recorded the theme song as well as two other songs which have been used during intermissions.

So yeah, I'm just a LITTLE bit biased here.

But NEVER-THE-LESS, write on I shall.


Why not?


Well, go ahead and tell me, why not?

No, not you... YOU shut up.

I mean the rest of you.

Didn't THINK so.

Shall I go on?

I think I shall.

Running for the next three weekends at Mad City's own Broom Street Theater (as seen above) is Rob Matsushita's adaptation of Gorman Bechard and Carmine Capobianco's movie, Psychos In Love.

The story of Psychos In Love centers around two main characters: Joe, excellently played by the hugable, teddy-bear of a guy, Buck Hakes, and Kate, awesomely played to the hilt by the curvacious Molly Vanderlin.

Both of them do excellent jobs in fleshing out their characters personalities, giving them little quirks and adding a basic humanity to the roles.

Why mention that they bring humanity to their roles?

Because both Joe and Kate are serial killers.

They have killed everyone they have dated since high school.

Especially those that like... Grapes.

Because they both HATE grapes.

Green grapes.

Purple grapes.

With seeds.

Without seeds.

In bunches, one at a time, or in small groups of twos and threes.



So here they are, these two grape hating, date slashing psychos.

Joe & Kate.

When fate brings them together (Sometime in the middle of the first act...), they are both poised to kill each other...


The whole hatred of the grapes is brought up.

And then, like kismet...

We have Mutual of Understanding.

Now, right after this, the two (at first) hesitatingly admit their... Mental shortcomings...

Being a psychopathic serial slasher can be SUCH a downer on your dating life after all.

But soon, they reveal that, in fact, they are BOTH psychopathic serial killers and a good laugh is had by all...

And the way Matsushita has Hakes and Vanderlin play this whole scene is just brilliant. You believe they are going to kill each other, that they really DO fall for each other, that they are both afraid of admitting thier darkest secret to their newfound love, and then the giddiness when they realize they they truly are simpatico.

And all of it played for good laughs!

At this point is when we are introduced to our other characters.

First, Herman the Plumber From Hell (played in outlandishly funny, over-the-top form by Karl Reinhardt), who comes by people's homes, unclogs their drains, then kills them and uses his plumber's tool called a "Swirlie" to suck the blood and guts from his victims so he can... Ahem... DRINK it...

Hey, he IS a Plumber From Hell, what did you THINK he did, tickle your ass with flower petals?

The fourth main character of the play, Detective-Sergaent Cheyenne Harding, a tough, slightly psychotic, no-nonsense southerner who sees serial killers EVERYWHERE, played to perfection by Deanna Reed.

She picks up on Herman's trail (and kills both her partner and the Lab Tech for being "serial killers") and vows: "I swear by all that's holy, by the lives of the eighteen serial killers I've already killed in the nine months I've been on the job--that I shall hold the heart of the freak of fucking nature in my fuckin' hand while it still beats!"

I STILL smile when I think of this line...

Kathy Lynn Sliter (like all but Hakes and Vanderlin, playing several roles) gives a hillariously intense depiction of Debbie, a potential victim and a waitress/dancer at Joe's bar.

John Dipko gives a very funny turn in playing The ManiKiller and Some Jerk Weatherman.

Ali Mikulyuk is also very funny as Nikki, The Toughest Stripper In The World. (The character is killed about six times at the end of act one...)

With Joe & Kate being joined by the rest of the cast to sing the theme song for both the movie and play, "Psychos In Love", here featuring an ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT, SPELLBINDING, BREATHTAKING MUSICAL BACKING TRACK recorded by some person whose name currently eludes me...

Oh yeah... ME!

Thus endeth Act One, coming in at a manageable 40 or so minutes... (Shorter than it took you to read all my sniping and grousing...)

Act Two opens up with Detective-sergaent Harding calling for... HER STRIKE TEAM!

MUSIC SWELLS UP as a LARGE GROUP OF ARMED MEN marches in, briskly.

HARDING (CONT’D.): "Are we ready to hunt down some Jews?"

Music STOPS.

Welcome to Act Two folks.

And this ain't yo mama's Act Two!

This is Act Two as an over-the-top blitzkrieg of puns, guns, killings, action, and socio-politcal satire.

"Excuse me?"


"What was that last bit?"

Oh shut up, you'll see.


Freaking po-ten-ti-al serial killers...


Joe and Kate, sitting in a tree...

K. I. L. L. I. N. G.

Back from a honey moon in Chicago of Wrigley Field, Joe & Kate find victims, semi-seduce them, and then each joylessly kill them.

Killin's just not what it used to be, it seems.

So, they come to a decision while at the crossroads of a major life event... (God, could I have made THAT line sound any cheesier?)

JOE: "Well, it could mean that as of this moment, we're ex-psycho killers."

So what do you do when you quit smoking?






Anal Sctupping of Seagulls?

ASS Annonymous.

(Uhhhh, don't ask.)

So what do ex-psycho killers do when they try to quit?

Go to PSYCHO THERAPY of course!

Run by Hannibal Lechter (Dipko), and populated by Freddy Kreuger (Mikulyuk), Catherine Tremell (Sliter), Leatherface (Reinhardt), The Guy from "Scream" (Reed), Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees (played by Jess Weltenbeck), this is one of the funniest scenes in the whole play, good for many laughs (especially if, like me, you geek out over horror films), but ultimately devolving into an all out brawl amongst the psychos.

Joe and Kate?

They decide to go cold turkey.

Besides, counseling is for pussies.

Back at the bar, Kate calls Joe to tell him that they need a plumber.


Ronald Reagan.

No seriously!

It was Ronnie the whole tim-...

I'm just funning with ya!

(I'm fooling you and you don't like it.)

It is, of course, Herman, The Plumber From HEEEEELLLLLLLL.

(That sounds kind of ominous... I like that...)

Herman, OF COURSE, offers his services, to which Kate quips: "Well, there’s no way that can end in disaster!"

All this brings us to the dramatic final sequence with a HUGE body count, guns a-plenty, a little move call "Gun kata" (Excellently done by Molly for a big hand), and a surprise little twist at the end.

All of which I'm NOT giving away.

Get off yer ass and go see the show.

"Oh, but POTCH... We don't LIVE in Madison..."


I had to travel 820 GOD-DAMNED miles, in a PLANE (I HATE planes) just to see this show.

So I will accept NO excuses from ANY of you!


The cast MIGHT let you get your picture taken with them.

In all seriousness, DESPITE my bias towards a friends work, "Psychos In Love" is one of the funniest plays I have ever seen.

When the show ended Friday, Sheila (my wife) turned to me and said, "Oh, we are SOOOO coming back on Sunday night!"

Can a greater compliment be paid?

The cast were all excellent. Their comic timing impeccable. The acting, quite believeable.

I do have to single out Molly Vanderlin and Buck Hakes and the two main characters, Kate and Joe. If THEY weren't good, especially together, the play would not work as well as it does. For that, kudos!

Also, Deanna Reed for being particularly and hillariously twisted in the role of Detective-sergaent Cheyenne Harding (who is the sister of West Covina Gloria Harding from Matsushita's play FACEvalue).

The music (aside from my own contributions) was well chosen and edited. (I especially liked when I walked in both nights to Tenacious D's "Lee")

To my friend Rob, I have to offer a sincere congrats on finishing his run at Broom Street with such a killer show. I have read and/or seen all seven of his plays, and I believe this one to be both the funniest and the best of them. You literally want to see it twice just to catch all the jokes.

And, perhaps the ultimate flattery...

You WILL be quoting this play for DAYS.

Sheila and I did all weekend (much to Rob's delight.)

So get off your ass, wherever that ass may be sitting right now, and find your way to 1119 Williamson Street, Madison, Wisconsin.

It's not THAT hard to find.

Hell, it's right in the middle of any map of the U.S. you have! (Unless you have one of the original 13 colonies... in which case, fuck off and give that to the SMithsonian you ass!)

Three weeks left to catch this very funny play, based on the movie of the same name...

Psychos In Love.

Lee 8/15/2003 02:38:00 PM [+]

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Luckiest Man Working In New York

I took off from work 10 minutes early, at 3:50 PM.

BeCAUSE I did this, I saved myself from being STILL IN New York RIGHT FREAKING NOW.

I got ON the 4:15 bus at, yes, you got it, 4:11. I no sooner sat down than the power went down like an L.A. hooker on Hugh Grant.

I was, apparently. on one of the last busses out of NYC.

Yes, we were all pretty freaked driving through a BLACKENED tunnel, emerging to see a huge black cloud billowing up from NYC, to see the oil refinery's smoke stacks billowing FIRE, not just smoke...

But, I got home safe and sound to find my wife waiting for me in an air conditioned room, watching the news.

In all, I am TOTALLY lucky.

If I had left at my NORMAL time, I would have been ON the subway at 4:11 PM, trapped in the pitch black darness for HOURS. And then, getting to stand on 10,000 person deep lines over at the pier, trying to get on a ferry home.

You know what?

SCREW those bastards who look down at people who leave early!

Tonight is TOTAL justification on my part!

Lucky-assed mofo that I am.

To all those trapped in there, I REALLY feel for you. I hope you all get home safe and sound. (And maybe with a new Plasma TV you looted...)

Take it easy folks.

Lee 8/14/2003 11:23:00 PM [+]

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