Slouching toward the millennium

Kitchen Dog celebrates its new era with a strange, apocalyptic work

Yet even with all these myriad elements and a sinewy text, Zastrozzi still comes together like fireworks in the sky, or some kind of spontaneous combustion in a glass tube. It succeeds despite (or because of?) a lot of mixed messages and monologues that could double as text for Calvin Klein's Obsession ads.

For me, Zastrozzi is an action-packed, provocative adult comic book come alive. In fact, Walker should recreate it as a comic series, with drawings by Art Spiegelman, the creator of Maus.

Ultimately, the play succeeds not only because of Lengfelder's direction but because of some terrific performances. Rene Moreno, last seen in Dallas Theater Center's The Cherry Orchard, is quite inspired as the mad innocent with a dark past, and his relationship with Victor is affecting. Kitchen Dog co-founders Day and Nemmers provide their usual contrast, this time as good and evil. They also show off some fine pectorals and flashy fencing during the sword fights. And Annelise Christ provides relief as Julia, a vapid virgin ensnared in Zastrozzi's web much like a woman tied to the train tracks as the steam engine approaches.

Zastrozzi is in the end more fun than truly thought-provoking. That's because its battles are so hyperbolic it almost qualifies as camp.

It also takes a while to ease into the play's dark style and humor, but be patient. Soon enough you will join in the strangely affable nightmare without looking back.

Zastrozzi runs through November 26 at the MAC, 3120 McKinney Avenue. For more information, call 520-

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