Casting Young Cuts Against Chemistry in Romeo and Juliet

No Point in Posey's Hunter S. Thompson Play

The best aspect of the Trinity Shakespeare Festival's productions this summer is their location inside the well air-conditioned Hays and Buschman theaters on the TCU campus. It's bad enough to weather three hours of blank verse, but risking heatstroke doing it is far worse.

Low-budget is too generous a way to describe 14 Death Defying Acts: An Autopsy on Hunter S. Thompson, an hour of disoriented spew written and performed by Matthew Posey at his 40-seat Ochre House grotto near Fair Park. Posey founded Deep Ellum Theatre Garage in the 1980s and seems to be stuck in a time warp where "experimental theater" means using crude video, loud rock music and rough-hewn dialogue spoken by actors who've spent a good 15 to 20 minutes rehearsing.

In a glimpse at the later life and writings of the founder of "gonzo journalism," Posey's one-hour performance (interrupted by an unnecessary 15-minute intermish) depicts Thompson, who killed himself in 2005, as a drug-crazed, mumbling stumblebum (accurate enough probably) living in beer-can-strewn squalor. Narrating words as he types, which makes for slow, choppy talk, Posey's Thompson gets up only to go on imaginary road trips with cohorts Gonzo (Xander Aulson, drowned out by the insistent musical underscore) and Leach (Kevin Grammer), and son Juan (Ross Mackey, who along with Aulson is a member of the surf-rock band Astrochrist).

Young and cute does not equate with onstage passion for Daniel Fredrick and Kelsey Milbourn who play the title roles in Romeo and Juliet.
amy peterson
Young and cute does not equate with onstage passion for Daniel Fredrick and Kelsey Milbourn who play the title roles in Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet continues through June 28 (alternating with Twelfth Night) at Trinity Shakespeare Festival, Fort Worth. Call 817-257-5770.
14 Death Defying Acts: An Autopsy on Hunter S. Thompson continues through June 27 at Ochre House. Call 214-826-6273.

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When the bed shapeshifts into a car, that's original and fun. Hanging penlights on twists of wire around their necks to light up their faces in the dark, that's cute. But the song about how much fun it is to beat up a woman, with the girl played by a naked blow-up doll? Not funny, not cute.

"Autopsy" is an appropriate word to describe this thing. It has all the charm of a crime scene.

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