Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Theater | STAGE REVIEW

It's a 'Kick' : A parody of the militia by the Actors' Gang doesn't go beyond stereotype, but it still manages to entertain in a burlesque way.

September 18, 1997|LAURIE WINER | TIMES THEATER CRITIC

Unless you want to talk animation, comedy doesn't get much broader or more raucous than this: "The Kick-Ass Militia!!!," Jason Reed's, shall we say, tribute to Americans who believe in the inalienable right to carry concealed weapons and ignore the IRS. You can catch their paranoid worldview at the Actors' Gang in Hollywood.

First stop is an environmental "indoktrination"--hustled into a small room by polite-but-firm men in shades, we watch footage of the FBI's attempted "illegal entry" at Waco. As we are ushered into the theater, it's hard to miss the actor in a lit booth, quite naked, on a toilet, reading Outlaw Biker magazine and grinning madly.

The fun-house atmosphere continues in the theater. Reed, who directs as if he were breathing adrenaline, throws so many weirdo characters at us so fast that the first 10 minutes have a carnival swirl to them. But soon we get to know the individual leering, illiterate members of this militaristic and bunkered order--the Kick-Assians--who are getting ready for their showdown with the foot soldiers of Janet Reno, men who can certainly hold their own in the moron sweepstakes.

"The Kick-Ass Militia!!!" offers not one thought beyond the theory that militia members are idiots. But a cast of 16 actors, some in multiple roles, presents an outrageous and entertaining chorus line of back-woods bimbos and macho men so uninhibited in their evil and stupidity that you may feel your jaw constantly about to drop.

Lee Arenberg plays General Bovatch, the compact, bulging-eyed leader of the bunch, who's married to the deranged, baby-faced Blanche (Julie Ann Taylor, destined to play Squeaky Fromme in some future production of Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins"), as well as to Charlene (Raelle, also played by Angie Shae) and Shelly (Doria Valen), two erotic dancers who know what to do with a steel pole and a strobe light.

The General's pigginess is nothing compared to the resident minister, Lance Lovesh (a blindingly sleazy V.J. Foster), whose hands are never far off his two "adopted daughters," Little Pretty (Tordy Clark) and Sweetie (Kerri Randles), zonked-out women in baby-doll dresses, one of whom has a bloody bandage around her wrist.

As dark as this may sound, "The Kick-Ass Militia!!!" is remarkably merry, almost blissful in its appreciation of bizarre Americana. Also quite funny are Jerome Spinks as the only black and only ultra-cool member of the club; Chris Bell, as a scout who has a satellite dish attached to his head; and Brent Hinkley as the most repulsive hillbilly this side of "Deliverance." On drums, Ken Palmer provides invaluable percussion throughout, and Patti Tippo is amusing as Cokie Roberts.

It's indicative of the show's childishness that Tippo is given one joke to play--Cokie is a terrible cokehead. The joke never changes; it just grows more outrageous. If "The Kick-Ass Militia!!!" is all id and no idea, it's a kicky little burlesque with admirable attitude.

*

BE THERE

"The Kick-Ass Militia!!!," Actors' Gang El Centro Space, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, Friday, 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Ends Oct. 18. $12. (213) 660-8587. Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|