By Ed Kliszus
Tonight’s world premiere of Twisted was presented at the Theater for the New City in New York’s East Village. Billed with words like Blackmail, Lust, Demons of Darkness, and Dancing, it fulfilled its role as A Campy Comedy with Music! Burlesque absurdity reigned supreme for the full house that applauded and couldn’t help but laugh.
A Brew of Hilarity
Twisted was outrageously funny from beginning to end. A mélange of chortling-provoking antics, the show delved into areas where laughs can’t help but bubble up in a brew of hilarity. A talented, passionate cast ensured the delivery of this burlesque pasquinade. A rockin’ band supported the action, physical comedy, singing, and pantomime. A backlit translucent screen set center backstage delicately and imaginatively portrayed mischievous naughtiness.
Slinky Men and Women
Here’s a taste of the action, but I won’t give it all away. We were captivated by a parade of slinky men and women. The talented and beautiful Temple Dancer Xue Yun Zhang and Lead Dancer Sevin Ceviker appeared frequently to spice up scenes. We grinned and leered as the gorgeous vedette dancer Renee Flame (Penny Balfour) fended off staggering drunks at the local lodge or dead-end strip club. Flame’s manager, Eddie (Larry Fleishman), was charmingly obnoxious and seemed willing to do, well, almost anything.
Renee Flame framed her daughter Phoebe (Maude Lardner Burke) not once but twice for her murders. A loony psychiatrist (Evan Laurence) and Nurse Rachet archetype (Christine Weiss Beidel) with thick German accents delighted in inflicting sadistic barium enemas. They cranked up shock treatment to a new level with their patient Phoebe Flame. We and they, to their dismay, discovered that high-voltage shock treatments could give “patients” like Phoebe the power to electrocute victims of their choice. The confession scene with penitent Phoebe and Father Confessor was delectably impertinent.
There’s more! We met and witnessed irreverent pagan worshipers with red-neck reptilian charm in a Louisiana swamp mansion. Lavinia Monteblanc de Lacroix (Brian Belovitch) led the cult and was a bit too chummy with her tall, bespoke son, Romaine Monteblanc de Lacroix (Robert Z Grant). Her other son, Sinclair (Andrew Ryan Perry), was smitten by Renee Flame’s charms and caused his mother and brother a lot of trouble.
Twisted is a fun, burlesque sojourn of endearing, cheeky impudence. The cast carried the story with verve and passion with their powerful performances. Special mention to Penny Balfour, Brian Belovitch, Robert Z Grant, Maude Lardner Burke, Andrew Ryan Perry, and Christine Weiss Beidel (particularly as Ida May). Come out, have fun, and see the final surprises!
Runtime: About hours without intermission. Note that the production contains adult content.
Presented by Executive Artistic Director Crystal Field
Written by Joel Greenhouse
Directed by Joe John Battista
The Cast of Twisted
The show stars Penny Balfour (Luc Besson’s Arthur and the Invisibles, Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard, and Arthur 3: The War of the Two Worlds, Sundance finalist Drop Back Ten), GLAAD nominee Brian Belovitch (member of Ridiculous Theatre Company, Boys Don’t Wear Lipstick, The Moth on NPR) and Robert Z Grant (“Inside Amy Schumer”), along with JC Augustin (Pestilence Part 1 at La MaMa), Sevin Ceviker (Martha Graham Dance Co.), Tony Del Bono (Help A Handicapped God Trot Across The Universe), Larry Fleischman (A Killing Day), Maude Lardner Burke (Galas directed by Everett Quinton), Evan Laurence (Pangea), Andrew Ryan Perry (The Ahab Inside Me) and Christine Weiss Beidel (Charles Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company).
Peter W. Dizozza (Piano), Joe John Battista (Guitar), Ron Raymond (Bass) and Kevin Murray (Drums).
Mark Marcante (Set Design), Brian Park (Sound and light Design), Wendy Tonken (Costume and props Design), Joe John Battista (Video/Projection Design), Sevin Ceviker (Choreography), and John King (Production Stage Manager).
Produced by Hillary Wyatt at PawPrint Productions.
Theater for the New City is located at 155 First Avenue in New York City. Performances are Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Running time is approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes with no intermission.
Tickets are $18 and $15 (students and seniors). For adults 18+ only. For more info and to purchase tickets, call 212-254-1109 or go to https://twistedshow.com.
Follow the show on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100094765933096 and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/twisted.show_nyc.