Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: The Dark, Dark Truth

America is a scary place and Dandy Darkly is here to spook you silly. The acclaimed story yeller, yes that's right a story yeller, brings tales of horror to Under St. Marks in Dandy Darkly's Trigger Happy. With loaded guns filled with bullets of truthful satire, Dandy Darkly takes the audience on a ride like no other. And there certainly is no one quite like Dandy Darkly.
With dark, fairytale satire to share, the title alone is evocative of society. Yet that trigger Dandy refers to is also a warning that his material will likely strike you in some form. From an American werewolf to an American icon to an American landmark, Dandy takes stories with shades of notoriety into twisted mythical nightmares that are warnings to us all. With morals inside, the stories we hear may scare you but it's the style in which he spits his words that makes the evening obscure yet, well, dandy. The text that Dandy Darkly offers is precise. His word choice was deliberate, honoring the power of three with his story sets. The only issue is it takes two false intros before the storytelling finally gets going. With the underscoring being an important scene partner, Dandy Darkly used it to his advantage. The chemistry is undeniable.
photo by Bobby Miller
As a performer, Dandy Darkly is enthralling. He is a unique glittery rhinestone rodeo clown. He has a provocative way with language as words fall off his tongue. There's a dash of joviality and a spritz of terror that makes up his persona. It's as if the demonic ghost of Paul Lynde is possessing him. Nonetheless, Dandy Darkly is a unique character. The costume alone sells this character. Sporting a cowboy shirt, decked out with skulls and red, white, and blue rhinestones, a bedazzled cowboy hat, and makeup that rivals any clown, highlighted by Gaga-esque eyeshadow, the image that Dandy Darkly presents captures the essence of haunting humor.
Directed by Ian Bjorklund, Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy moves swiftly, keeping Dandy Darkly on his toes. Bjorklund helps Dandy Darkly on track, assisting him in hitting certain words. The cadence of language is important, and Bjorklund guided the storyteller. The lighting design by Christina Watanabe was striking. It was spooky yet optimistic. Clearly, it’s a theme that keeps replaying in the show. With a tattered fabric as the only scenic piece, it offered a unique vision of the American flag. As the lights shine on it, you can see handprints that appear to be placed in blood. It’s a twisted image, but that’s exactly what this show is.
When the eclectic preshow soundtrack includes “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and “The Haunted Mansion Theme Song”, you know you’re in for a doozy. Dandy Darkly is a wordsmith but his show is not for everyone. Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy is not your average solo piece. But sticking out of the pack is ok sometimes.