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'Midnight Radio: Cult Movie Classics' is fun and satisfying

| Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

REVIEW

Bricolage Production Company ends its short but inventive season of “Midnight Radio” with a show themed to cult-movie classics.

For those unfamiliar with this popular program, it's important to note at the outset that the title is somewhat misleading.

The shows begin not at midnight but at 9 p.m. and they're not to be found on your radio dial but at the company's home on Liberty Avenue.

Part homage to vintage-radio shows, part live-stage performance of original material and wholly entertaining, it's a distinctive and eclectic evening of radio dramas, fake breaking news, a game-show competition, an appearance by a guest musician or two and some satirical commercials.

The segments are performed complete with live sound effects by four onstage voice artists who portray radio personalities who also create the characters and speak the lines for the dramas.

It's also great fun for those looking for an out-of-the-ordinary amusement.

The centerpiece of the current show is two 20-minute dramas; one based on the kung fu movie “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” and one on the sci-fi thriller “Godzilla vs. Mothra.”

Writers Gayle Pazerski, Brad Stephenson and Joe Lyons have created original scripts of goofy, often funny dialogue that's performed while snippets of the original films appear on the screen.

The film creates an odd departure from “Midnight Radio's” usual drama segments which are often made richer by closing your eyes and using your imagination to create the visuals.

While amusing, it's the sort of jokey dialogue you might ad lib while watching the film with a group of witty friends after a few drinks.

Other segments follow the pattern laid down over the show's four seasons.

Amy Landis, Patrick Jordan, Jason McCune and Sheila McKenna work well together as the dysfunctional news team, especially McKenna as a drunken sportscaster and McCune as a prudish psychologist clearly uncomfortable with thinking about, much less offering advice on, sex. Landis is fun as the sensible anchor who tries to keep order, and Jordan is delightfully funny when interviewed as an “angry sports dad.”

Angela Vesco provides fun and local flavor with an additional news show segment as Aunt Mag, the hostess for a Pittsburgh-based food competition which she also wrote.

Josh Verbanets and Matt Miller from the local pop-rock group Meeting of Important People provides two musical interludes of the group's music.

The proceedings wrap up just under two hours, leaving you satisfied, but sorry that the short three-show season is over.

Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or acarter@tribweb.com.

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