“Clash Titans Clash!”
Tickets $5-18. 8 p.m. April 1-3. Dad’s Garage, 280 Elizabeth Street, Suite C-101. 404-523-3141. www.dadsgarage.com
By David Lee Simmons
This send-up features a clash of local theater titans in the form of writer/co-star Lucky Yates, castmates and fellow Dad’s Garage stalwarts Scott Warren and Amber Nash, and director Jason von Hinezmeyer.
It was Hinezmeyer, a veteran of the Center for Puppetry Arts, whom Yates turned to for a bizarre puppet version of this show.
In the playbill, Yates (himself a longtime puppet fetishist) writes of a longtime obsession of mounting a send-up of the movie. A puppet version, he adds, was icing on the cake.
So Hinezmeyer could serve as the doppelganger for Ray Harryhausen, the special-effects guru who provided the visual magic for the film version. The result is a hilarious and visually kinetic offering that had the opening-night audience coughing up a lung or two.
Part of the credit goes to Yates’ script, which offers a twisted adaptation of the Greek tale of Perseus, whose rocky start in life is retold with delicious, perverted glee.
Perseus was birthed by Danae and the Greek god Zeus. Acrisius, Danae’s paranoid dad, stumbles into one of mythology’s biggest self-fulfilling prophecies after consulting the oracle of Delphi, and seeks to banish the mother and son without angering the gods.
This launches the many misadventures of Perseus (Yates), Danae (Nash) and Zeus (Warren).
The three play off each other so naturally that they’re able break from and return to character like they’re changing shirts. Warren’s Zeus is a befuddled horndog, spouting his lines like a drunken, past-his-prime Shakespearean. His desire to make sweet love to Danae in the form of a “shower of gold” earns a polite education in alternative lifestyles from his fellow gods (Yates and Nash), leading to an R. Kelly reference best left at the theater.
Yates seems perfectly at home in this production, his face fixed in a perpetual smile, mining every scatological possibility from his own script. Maybe too much, though he’s rarely posed as a master thespian.
Nash is the most disciplined of the performers, delivering her lines with an almost detached precision as she manipulates her puppets. She also draws the dubious duty of handling the incredibly annoying mechanic puppet Bubo, nailing his incessant squawks to the crowd’s delight.
Hinezmeyer’s production gives the feeling of doll-playing as much as puppetry, complete with a curved table that allows the various dolls to be spun around as if on a Lazy Susan, as Yates and Nash pop down and back up again to assume their various roles.
Not so effective were the cast members’ assigned Web cams, whose unreliability prevented a clear picture on the big screen in the middle of the stage.
Before strapping on the 3-D glasses for the sensory assault that is sure to be the upcoming remake of “Clash of the Titans,” maybe it’s best to strap on the beer goggles and check out “Clash Titans Clash!”
Call it pre-emptive satire.