A 3D ADVENTUREBy: Matt Lyle
Director –Matthew Gray
Scenic Designer—Jeffrey Schmidt
Lighting Designer—Aaron Johansen
Sound Designer – Matthew Gray
Costume Designer—Aaron Patrick Declerk
CAST (at reviewed performance)
Actress 1—Whitney Blake Dean
Actor 1—Parker Gray
Actress 2—Olivia Grace Murphy
Actor 2—Zachary J. Willis
Reviewed Performance: 8/17/2019
Reviewed by Genevieve Croft , Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Before jumping into the review, I would like to give a little bit of information about the production. Circle Theatre’s production of “A 3D Adventure” was the World Premiere performance. Written by local Texas playwright Matt Lyle, “A 3D Adventure” takes audiences on a journey of nearly every film you can think of-paying the appropriate homage to films of all genres, with references to plot, character, quotes and more. Throw in several appearances of Darth Vader and you have the basic villainous plot of “A 3D Adventure.” It is a modern-day take on the campy cult film experience presented live on stage. There were so many film references, that I eventually lost count as I belly laughed the majority of the production.
How do I even begin to give you a synopsis of the plot? Let me see if I can simplify it for you. A company of egotistical actors in 2019 are led by the bombastic Doc (Brown) and his side-woman Boof. When his troupe of actors fall disinterested with performing the antiquated style of Vaudeville, and opt to go see the midnight showing of the new Star Wars film, a “tremors” like experience sucks everyone (except Doc and Boof) into a vortex traveling from film to film, until Doc and Boof jump in and attempt to rescue them. Part farce and Mystery-Science Theatre, “A 3D Adventure” not only pays tribute to some of the greatest (and not so great) films of history. You will be guaranteed to laugh the entire performance.
Director Matthew Gray brought together a tight ensemble cast that worked well together, and collaborated with a crew who clearly took their jobs seriously and wove together the elements of scenery, lighting and costumes that enhanced the story being told by these outlandish characters. His overall vision and concept was very impressive. The actors were so fully charged with energy-it really was an exciting experience at the theater. From the moment the show began, members of the audience were rolling with laughter. From the witty and quick paced dialogue, to the large amount of physical combat, “A 3D Adventure” takes every element of what our society considers comedy, and amps it up for a fantastic evening of comedy.
Scenic Designer Jeffrey Schmidt successfully transformed the proscenium stage of Circle Theatre into multiple locations. In a story with so many locations, each one was designed and executed in a quick, yet, detailed manner. I was impressed with the versatility of the scenic design. It allowed for creative staging, and direct opportunities for each actor to interact with the audience. One of the best technical elements was the production’s use of projections to help jump from film to film. Projections were designed to mirror each film genre and time period. From black and white film noir to the classic sci-fi film, the projections truly added the real cinematic feel that helped to capture the concept and the world of the play.
Sound was designed by Matthew Gray. From the moment I entered the theatre, I couldn’t help but sing along! I think I even made a friend (the usher near my seat) because I knew the words to “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, and the theme to the “Neverending Story” (and no, I did not learn the lyrics from the latest season of Stranger Things”!). The best film song used was “It Might Be You” by Dave Grusin, and sung by Stephen Bishop. It was instantly recognizable as the song from 1982’s “Tootsie.” What a vast selection from the vault of wonderful film themes. Bravo, Mr. Gray for taking the difficult (yet rewarding) role of a sound designer, and using music that takes the audience into the world of the fantasy and spectacle.
Aaron Patrick DeClerk designed costumes that were not only very appropriate to the action of the story, but, were also very functional for the large amount of physical combat and stage choreography. The costumes were very much like a blank canvas. They allowed the actors to take on the role of each film character and move with quick timing and pace. I very much enjoyed seeing Darth Vader’s iconic costume about twenty feet in front of me. Although it seemed like very stock selections, I believe that Mr. DeClerk took the costume design and was able to adapt it for the necessary requirements of this production.
Bob Hess was incredibly believable in the role of Doc. Through facial expression, body language, and a wonderful sense of comic timing, Hess convincingly portrayed the arrogant and egotistical protagonist character who is tested throughout the story-with friendship, loyalty and romance. Hess brought great physicality to the role, and never faltered in his comic delivery. Mr. Hess has a fantastic stage voice. He easily took charge of the story and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what ludicrous event or moment would be next. Fantastic job, Mr. Hess. Thank you for keeping the audience laughing.
Jenna Anderson was phenomenal in the role of straight-woman and sidekick Boof. Ms. Anderson portrayed a wonderful foil to the comedic role of Doc. There was fantastic chemistry between Ms. Hess and Ms. Anderson. It was very reminiscent of the comedy duos of Laurel and Hardy, and Abbott and Costello. Ms. Anderson did such a wonderful job playing the “straight” comedic role that her over exaggerated reactions created elements of humor on their own. She was very enjoyable to watch.
If I am pressed to find aspects of the production that might need some fine-tuning, my response would be minimal. However, there were some moments where the actors were so keyed up and full of energy that they appeared to drop a few lines, or dropped out of character due to a humorous moment. However, with a production like this, I would expect this-even with the most experienced actor. I believe that it keeps the humor alive, and proves that the audience play a large role in the dynamic of the success of the production. Fresh is always funny, and with “A 3D Adventure,” you will be more than tickled at the material.
This production of “A 3D Adventure” is definitely worth seeing. If you need a light evening out with heavy laughter, I highly recommend seeing this production. Expect the unexpected as you often would with comedy, and prepare for a million movie references. If you are a film buff-this one is definitely for you. It’s not very often that theatre and film can successfully be bridged together. But for “A 3D Adventure,” at Circle Theatre in Fort Worth, you will get 2 for 1. Hurry, the World Premiere of this show will not be here long, then it will be “The End.”
230 West 4th Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Plays through September 14.
Thursdays at 7:30 pm
Fridays at 8:00 pm
Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm
Ticket prices range from $25-$35 depending on day and seating. For information and to purchase tickets, call: 817-877-3040 or visit: www.circletheatre.com