Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pookie goes Grenading at the New Theatre Project

Pookie is a high school freshman living in suburban New Jersey. She desperately wants to reach people with her art: a screenplay/play in which she saves the town from an evil doughnut shop owner who has been kidnaping Albanian war orphans and baking them into his pastries. They hyperactive Pookie (played by Luna Alexander) spends most of the time terrorizing her school, her guidance counselor (Dan Johnson), and her best friend, Dynamo (Chris Jakob). After Pookie gets sent to jail for burning down the auditorium while rehearsing her one woman show, things start to get a little crazy.

Inspired by Pookie's art, Benny (Artun Kircali), the stupid-beautiful gay quarterback breaks Pookie out of jail. Together with the reluctant Dynamo, they kidnap Mr. “Rags” Ragonesse, their guidance counselor. Now all they have to do is avoid the cops and convince Pookie's nemesis, Greta van Susteren (Emily Roll), to join their cause. She is, after all, the best theater techie in the Tri-State Area.

Pookie goes Grenading is a great comedy. It even has a play-within-a-play, so you know it has to be pretty awesome. It's light, but does a good job capturing the emotional hyperactivity and irrationality of youth. It doesn't take itself too seriously: there are a lot of wonderful jokes about how only losers attempt to find careers in the theater. EJ and I especially liked Dan Johnson's performance as the Guidance Counselor Mr. Ragonesse--He was wonderfully frazzled and annoyed with his kidnappers.

If you've been meaning to check out a show at the New Theatre Project, you should definitely check out Pookie goes Grenading. It's the company's last show and it's a wonderful swan song. It's really funny and crass, but without being too crass. Considering the week we had last week, sometimes it's nice to get a chance to escape the troubles of the real world for an hour or so. Tickets are $15 or $10 for students and industry. You also get a free doughnut (Pookie is obsessed with doughnuts). The play runs Thursday through Sunday at 8pm until April 28th. Go see it, you will be glad you did.

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