Saturday, November 29, 2008

NYC: Arias with a Twist (HERE Arts Center) - 11/29/08

I have not seen anything like "Arias with a Twist", and that is saying something for someone who has seen enough theater to last several lifetimes. It's a compliment of the highest order. Whoever thought to combine legendary drag artist Joey Arias with legendary puppeteer Basil Twist have struck gold. Think "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" overdosing on hallucinatory drugs and you kinda get the picture. The show follows Joey Arias as he gets abducted by aliens, abandoned on a strange tropic world, gets high on strange indigenous mushrooms, and returns to New York City. Basil Twist's supremely haunting and inventive visual work here as he seamlessly animates Joey's advenures is some of the best I have seen anywhere in a theater (surpassing even the far, far more expensive "The Radio City Christmas Spectacular" and "Shrek", which I saw in the same week), and the accomplishment is compounded by the fact that theater seats less than 100. And in Joey Arias, with his determined, sensual vocals and diabolical charisma, Mr. Twist has found an unlikely partner in crime. Together with "The Seagull", a must-see.

Rating: ****1/2 (out of *****)

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