A new show, “A-Cop-Alypse,” by a young Kansas City playwright, Jeff Smith, kicked off the Just Off Broadway Theatre’s 2014 Fringe Festival, with a comedy about drug dealers, zombies, cops, and a horny medical professional dead set on capturing the heart and sexual favors of the lead crop, Thornburg, played by Jeff Smith--playwright, actor, producer, and choreographer of this farcical piece.
“A-Cop-Alypse,” opened night one of Kansas City’s Fringe Festival at 6p.m., July 18 at about a dozen different venues with each venue offering up three to four different shows. Each show repeats of the course of the 11 day-festival that runs through July 27 with each show competing to be named “Best of Venue” and win a reward of a Sunday, “Hangover” performance to reward the best of the KC Fringe.
The piece opens with a drug-related shooting of a cop who apparently is closing in on a drug ring and about to make a critical capture and arrest. Instead, the cop, and elder Thornburg, tries to fend off a flurry of bullets, quite unsuccessfully. The scene then changes to officer Thornburg’s funeral and his look-alike son performing a eulogy and vowing revenge. The young Thornburg’s obsession becomes avenging the death of his father and taking out the drug kingpin of a new drug sweeping the city and destined to turn all users into an army of zombies.
According to KC Fringe info: “One's a stiff. One's a drunk. Together, they're a...stiff drunk? I guess... After the death of his father, tough cop Thorburg goes rogue to find his killer. Along the way, his father's former wise-cracking partner, Geyser lends an unwanted helping hand. The two link the murder to a local drug lord Dr. Devious, who creates drugs that have an 'interesting' side effect. Now the fate of the world is in the hands of unlikely partners and heroes. Thorburg and Geyser, along with their friends, must take down a madman and his zombie minions bent on destruction and world domination.”
“A-Cop-Alypse” pokes fun at the cop and proper venue. Smith used a compilation of television cop shows, movies in the same genre. Throw into that a mix of zombies, boy bands, choreographed dance moves, and gave our atmosphere, and you get a sampling of what to expect.
The show features strong and comical acting from Smith , Tim Ahlenius who share unbelievable chemistry in their scenes together. They are worth watching, and they keep the action moving while they keep encouraging the audience to laugh more and more with their antics, facial expressions, and reactions to everything happening around them.
Smith showed his strong comedic talents by creating a character that was a compilation of so many famous movie cops. Shades of when Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and more come to mind when watching his performance. Smith used his dashing, dark good looks as a piece to his comedic performance. Each turn and each cock of his head brought laughs from the audience.
Ahlenius created a very comical character who seems to be lost somewhere between alcohol, recreational drug usage, and an affinity for gay bars as a means of securing intelligence for their investigation. Ahlenius is strongest when interacting and responding to Smith’s Thornburg.
Two other performances that stand out in this piece come from the creative mind and delivery of Amy Attaway and Bradley J Thomas. Attaway plays a medical professional with hot pants for Thornburg. Her lustful suggestions are hilarious as well as her autopsy scene. As the maniacal Dr. Devious, Thomas lets loose a devilish laugh and a madman’s rage with his plan to “rule the world.”
Others in the cast gave really good performances and overcame opening-night jitters. Each scene moves very well and scene changes were not distracting. The comedy of the piece The audience laughing and watching intently.
Cast: Thorburg, Jeff Smith; Geyser, Tim Ahlenius; Captain Ralph, Pete Bakely; Jaysin, Christopher Barksdale; Maude, Amy Attaway; Dr. Devious, Bradley J. Thomas; Henchman #1, Ensemble, Zombie, Fuad Turkmani; Italian, Drug Dealer, Henchman #2, Ensemble, Zombie, Michael Schley; Large Man, Ensemble, Zombie, Sean Moise. Ensemble: Elizabeth Theodosia Ernst, Dylan Thomas, Neil Andes.
Creatiive staff: director, Mackenzie Goodwin; stage manager, Alex Murphy; assistant stage manager, Sean Moise; set designer, Neil Andes; lighting designer, John Moose Kimball; sound designer, Joseph Concha; property and costume designer, Dylan Thomas; make-up designer, Dylan Thomas; make-up assistant, Krystal Heib; fight choreographer/choreographer, Jeff Smith; signage, painting, set assistants, Courtney Micallef and Wayne Andes.
“As the producer, writer, choreographer (yes, the choreographer), and actor of this piece,” Smith said, “I wanted to thank all of those that have made this possible. So much, and so many went into getting this show off the ground. My team has been unbelievable throughout this process and made the impossible happen. Alex Murphy, Mackenzie Goodwin, Dylan Thomas, Joseph Concha, Sean Moise, Neil Andes, and John 'Moose' Kimball helped me take a stupid dream of a show, and make it happen. Nothing like this, an action movie type play, has ever been attempted locally. Let alone been attempted at Fringe. I love you guys, thanks for helping me chase magic. Likewise, these actors have put up with dance sequences, fight choreography, late and long rehearsals, frustration, and my acting to help me bring this to the stage. Thank you all so much for your time and sacrifices.”
Smith also wanted to acknowledge support from our friends though two fundraising shows at Missie B's (thanks to Jessica Dressler) and our online Indiegogo campaign (see designated page for those that helped make the show a reality.
The show comes with the highest recommendations. Fringe patrons who want a good time need to make plans now to see “A-Cop-Alypse,” at the Just Off Broadway Theatre. Online tickets may be purchased ahead of time or at the door. For advance purchases please go to the KC Fringe main page: www.kcfringe.org