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The Bride and the Beast

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The Bride and the Beast, Chicago Dramatists Workshop.

Producer, writer, director, and all-around psychotronic guy Michael Flores bills his latest foray into kinda campy, kinda pop, ever so slightly amusing theater as an adaptation of Ed Wood's The Bride and the Beast, even though the 1958 grade-Z film was actually directed by Adrian Weiss from a script by Wood. This isn't a big sin, but it's representative of the Barnumesque talk Flores uses to lure unsuspecting patrons into the theater. Once in their seats they quickly discover that he doesn't have a clue about creating entertaining theater.

Flores has put little effort into re-creating the odd, subamateurish feel of low, low-budget B movies, and he's dicked with the preposterous original script, about a pair of newlyweds visiting Africa whose marriage goes awry when the bride falls in love with a gorilla and runs off with him. Flores fills his play with lots of snide but not very funny asides about how awful the original script is, and every time the slow-moving plot stops altogether he inserts an innocuous song, which is usually badly sung. Those who've enjoyed Sean Abley's wry, witty, remarkably faithful stage re-creations of Reefer Madness and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at the Factory Theater will cringe at how seldom Flores's fair-to-middlin' cast manages to squeeze an honest laugh out of what he has the balls to call a "musical comedy."

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