Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dementia Juice at Dad's Garage June 21 - July 27

So one of the perks of working at a theater is sometimes you get free tickets to other theaters, that whole professional courtesy thing.  In this case it was, "hey, come help take the 7 Stages Youth Creates program to Dad's Garage to see a play" ...so for the rest of this review please keep in mind we had around 32 children ages 9-19, six of them from Holland and three of them from Israel with us in the audience.  (Explaining some of the phrases that didn't quite translate was both awkward and awesome)

If you are unfamiliar with the amazing experience that is Dad's Garage, it has been one of my favorite theater's since I moved to Atlanta.  With productions like Debbie Does Dallas the Musical, Reefer Madness the Musical, drunken midnight puppet slams, classes and amazing improv workshops and shows it has one of the most active and creative theaters in town.  If you're going to/have make/made it as an actor in Atlanta Dad's Garage is somewhere on your resume.  And in August, Dad's Garage is moving into 7 Stages because they've lost their lease so these two amazing forces will be combining for a ton of awesome!  However, this means that Dementia Juice is the last show that will ever be in the current Dad's Garage space.  It's change and it's kinda sad.  The first show I ever stage managed in Atlanta was at Dad's Garage so it hold a special place in my heart.

  • Rodrigo (Lucky Yates, left), Helena (Amber Nash), and Daniel (Tom Rittenhouse)
So, Dementia Juice...the write up for press states, "When you meet your girlfriend’s parents for the first time, you want to make a good impression, right? Unfortunately that’s pretty hard to do when the walls are melting, everyone’s faces keep swapping, and her dad catches on fire right in front of your eyes. Either you just walked into a Dali painting or you’re on a serious acid trip."  A young scientist who may have found the cure for dementia gets ready to meet his beautiful fiance's eccentric parents and shows that there's a fine line between being insane and being on drugs.  This show is a combination of puppets, live acting, the best use of the main stage space and curtain system I have ever seen there and a custom toilet that you have to see to believe.  Sure, there's partial nudity, incest, Polyamourous Satanic Masons and a little plant sex, but that's what I've come to expect from Dad's Garage over the years.  There were so many moments during the show I was laughing out loud, a few times I was laughing so hard I was in tears.  It's a little bit like Animaniacs and Evil Dead II got drunk during a vintage horror convention and this was the result...did I mention there's an awkward dance number?

Written and directed by Kevin Gillese, the Artistic Director of Dad's Garage and Michael Haverty, the Associate Artistic Director of 7 Stages, I hope that this is a sign of the amazing things to come when the two theaters share a home for a while.  Also, if you're into the show Archer, Helena is played by Amber Nash (voice of Pam Poovy) and demented/dementia ridden Rodrigo is played by Lucky Yates (voice of Doctor Krieger) and they do a wonderful job as the in-laws-to-be.  Their zany hi jinx was a wonderful balance to the young scientist Daniel (played by Tom Rittenhouse) who has a great journey from mousy scientist to acid tripping defender of love along with his baseball referencing fiance Rachel (played by Perry Frost) as the semi-straight men in this show.  This is an amazing high note for the building to go out on...I am sure that the weird energy of Dad's Garage will be a legacy in the condos they will be building on it's rubble.  

Dementia Juice Through July 27. $7-$21. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. Dad's Garage Theatre, 280 Elizabeth St. 404-523-3141. www.dadsgarage.com.