The Roast of Batman v Superman
Written and performed by Kent Carney, Loren Cline, Will Hardesty, Raanan Hershberg, Tyler Jackson, Sean Keller, Mandee McKelvey, Mark Parris, Patrick Passafiume, & Chris Vititoe
Directed by Scot Atkinson
Review by Keith Waits
Entire contents copyright © 2016 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
The Roast series at The Bard’s Town is nothing if not timely in choosing its targets. Just before Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened Darth Vader was placed on the spit. Now, as we gear up for the release of Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice, they are roasting…Batman v Superman.
Actually, the “v” concept allows for a liberal spoof of the current run of Presidential debates, particularly the overcrowded Republican field of candidates. With the rate at which that roster is now dwindling, this roast entry arrives just in time. Another 2 weeks and the format may seem irrelevant.
Besides the titular duo (Mark Parris as The Dark Knight and Chris Vititoe as The Man of Steel), the line-up includes Aquaman (Will Hardesty) as moderator, and Green Arrow (Sean Keller), The Flash (Raanan Hershberg), Wonder Woman (Mandee McKelvey), and Lex Luthor (Tyler Jackson). Things get off to a chaotic start when The Joker (Kent Carney) and Harley Quinn (Loren Cline) enter and force themselves into the proceedings.
The intrusion of characters such as Bane (Patrick Passafiume), Daredevil, and others more anachronistic to the situation, such as Steven Avery (Making a Murderer) or a scabrous Narwhal (both played hilariously by Sean Keller) made the show feel longer than it’s 95 minutes, but the self-referential, mocking tone alleviates such quibbles. The performers, like all good comedians, are in tune with each moment onstage, able to self-correct or react to any snafus and build on each other’s jokes. There is scripted material, as evidenced by discreetly used hand-written pages and cell phones, but the material plays with such spontaneity that one can imagine the ensemble furiously writing right up to show time.
They also are often their own best audience, breaking up often as each of their colleagues takes the spotlight. Far from ever feeling unprofessional, it has the effect of more deeply engaging the audience. While all of the cast was in good form in the first performance, special honors go to Mandee McKelvey for making her Wonder Woman a sexy knockout who was still capable of an inspired bit about flabby arms, Tyler Jackson for a smooth and cruelly funny Lex Luthor, and Mark Parris for giving a solid big finish with Batman’s closing statement.
Mr. Parris also supervises some nifty video pieces that help frame the circumstances, and director Scot Atkinson shapes the whole evening and provided bold set graphics.
The Roast of Batman v Superman
February 12 & 13, 2016 @ 7:30 PM & 10:00 PM
The Bard’s Town
1801 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205
Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being one of the hosts of PUBLIC on ARTxFM, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.