By Lisa Gauthier Mitchison
You have to work for it, but when ‘’Disaster: The Musical’ hits a good gag, it makes the wait worth it, all while cleverly inserting songs from the ‘70s.
The setup of the Buck Creek Players musical is the opening of a new floating casino. Chad (Scott A. Fleshood) is hoping to meet some “Hot Stuff” and so he accompanies his pal Scott (Jamison Hemmert) to the opening as a server. Professor Ted Scheider (Joe Wagner) is looking for “hot stuff” in the water; as a disaster professional, he has predicted a series of natural disasters heretofore unheard of. Marianne (Allie Buchanan), a reporter, is there to get the scoop on owner Tony Del Vecchio (Corey Yeaman), who allegedly cut some safety corners to save some money. Sister Mary Downy stands as a single protestor with a one-note guitar, letting everyone know they are going to hell, even though she is “Torn Between Two Lovers,” God and a new Hawaii 5-0-themed slot machine, herself.
Shirley and Maury Summers (Laura Duvall-Whitson and Michael Davis) are the decades-long married couple still in love and off to celebrate his retirement; but Maury doesn’t know his wife is terminal with a grocery list of bizarre symptoms, like inappropriate pelvic thrusts. Levora Verona, a washed-up disco star, shows up at the pier avoiding her cab fare; this is her last chance to win back some of her faded fortune. Already onboard, Jackie (Jessica Crum Hawkins), a lounge singer, also has her life on the line. She tells her twins Ben and Lisa (Ava Lusby) that if all goes well tonight, Tony might “possibly” ask her to marry him.
And there are piranha puppets. Oh the piranha puppets.
There are genuinely funny or ew, or “oh hell” moments here, such as a particularly good piece with Jackie and her “kids,” where Ava gets to play the Susan-Sharron-Parent-Trap shtick with the aid of some fake hands. And did I mention the piranhas?
The B-grade special effects are an apt reflection of the source material as “Disaster” is meant to be a spoof of all 1970s disaster movies. As I said, there’s down time between good sight gags, but when they come up, they are worth it. The dedicated cast and crew with director D. Scott Robinson put their all into this goofy farce.
Through June 16, Fridays/Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets: $20; $18 for students (through college) and senior citizens (aged 62 and older). For more, buckcreekplayers.com
Lisa Gauthier Mitchison covers live theater at IndianapolisTheaterReviews.wordpress.com.