Reviewed by Joan Tupponce
If you’ve never experienced the flashy, shameless, and often addicting theatrics of professional wrestling, then you’re in for a treat thanks to Firehouse Theatre Project’s current production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity.
This rowdy show, billed more as an event than a production, parodies the reality show-style drama associated with the world of wrestling and the crazy legends it creates and perpetuates. The play gives you the opportunity to experience this fabricated world through the eyes of Macedonio “The Mace” Guerro, a Puerto Rican kid who has realized his childhood dream of being a wrestler but questions his devotion to the sport each night when he takes a battering to make rock-star wrestlers like glammed-up Chad Deity look better than they actually are.
The Mace stands aside when Chad Deity makes his elaborate entrance – think bright lights, bling, and scantily-clad women – and steps into the ring. He knows his place and his job. He also knows to stay on the good side of wrestling promoter EKO, a pompous personality only interested in shoveling in the big bucks.
The Mace introduces EKO to VP Paduar, an Indian-American who has swagger with the ladies and a multi-lingual collection of pick-up lines always at the ready. EKO immediately schemes to stereotype VP as a Middle Eastern revolutionary, naming him The Fundamentalist. Not comfortable with his new role, VP finally takes a stand, leaving The Mace to once again question why he stays during that last few minutes of the show.
Director Kerry McGee deserves credit for her work on this showy smack-down. The action in the ring and in the theater stays true to the outrageous spectacle that is pro wrestling. The fight choreography in and out of the ring is as real as it gets. You’ll question whether you’re really at the theatre or a WWE matchup.
The ensemble cast works well together on every level. James Long who plays three seriously funny wrestlers The Bad Guy, Billy Heartland, and Old Glory brings humor and realism to his multiple roles.
Josh Marin gives new meaning to an over-the-top performance as the self-absorbed Chad Deity and Nicklas Aliff is appropriately sleazy and excitable in his role as the unscrupulous wrestling promoter, EKO. Mauricio Marces masters the street-smart skateboarder attitude of VP and is completely at ease on stage.
As The Mace, Axle Burtness consistently shows the push and pull that his character experiences throughout the night. His acting has a genuine feel to it.
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is a fun, testosterone-laced show that body slams you into a world of staged fights and plastic heroes. Please note there is a brief moment of nudity (rear only) and colorful language in the production.
The show runs through March 8 at Firehouse Theatre Project. For showtimes and tickets, go here:The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity | Firehouse Theatre Project