The Off-Broadway spoof Point Break LIVE! has stormed into Los Angeles, attacking its audiences with hilarious commentary on the ridiculous 1991 action-thriller Point Break, which starred Keanu Reeves as an ex-football-playing FBI agent and Patrick Swayze as a surfing thief. The theater experience recreates the entire film, complete with surfing episodes, violent robberies, and atrocious dialogue.
The film is already ripe for parody, with bank robbers dressed as ex-presidents who surf and babble existentialisms; not to mention that Reeves implausibly played Johnny Utah, a top law school graduate turned FBI agent and the butch Lori Petty was totally miscast as an ingénue.
The cast milks the play’s inherent homoeroticism, with half-naked cast members dry-humping each other at every turn. Tobias Jelinek plays group leader Bodhi (the Swayze character) as a bleached-blonde Charlie Manson, sounding like a philosophical nut job. Jennifer Jean goes in a completely different direction playing the girlfriend role as a 1940s gangster’s moll a la Ida Lupino.
The play’s big gimmick is that the person who plays Johnny Utah is recruited from the audience each night. Aided by a hysterically hyper production assistant (Christi Waldon) who feeds him cue cards, this clueless audience member is forced to interact with the kamikaze crew of lunatics. Our Johnny captured Keanu’s dull monotone perfectly and had great chemistry with the band of actors. It was almost impossible to believe he wasn’t a ringer.
Directors Thomas Blake, George Spielvogel, and Eve Hars use multi-media technology — including a fantastic gonzo animation sequence by Kevin Vasconcellos — wires and high-powered fans to simulate sky-diving and car chases. The ponchos provided to the audiences are a necessity, as beer, water and fake blood are splashed at them, particularly in the finale where there are more dead bodies littered about (some of them unsuspecting audience members told to play dead) than in the last act of Hamlet.
In short, Point Break Live! is more of a wild amusement ride than real theater, but it’s great fun nonetheless.