Yee haw!

Nevada Territory

Written and directed by Frank Cwiklik
Horse Trade Theater Group/DMTheatrics
Red Room
85 East 4th St. (between 2nd & 3rd Aves.; 212/868-4444;
Nonunion production (closes Mar. 21)
Review by Charles Battersby

Yeee haw! It sure as hell seems like there ain't been no plays about cowboys lately. Sure Urban Cowboy done played on Broadway, but them singin' cowboys don't count. It seems the folks at Danse Macabre Theatricals got a hankering ta do a cowboy play too, and these folks done it right. They ain't got no fancy mechanical bull in their new play Nevada Territory. Instead, they got a real live rootin-tootin' cowboy movie.... Only they done put it on a stage, all theatre-like.

Now it ain't exactly the best play in town, but it's the only play where a gunslinger throws down with three varmints inside a saloon, just like Clint Eastwood. Ya see, this here play's about a town called Empire Nevada. Trouble with Empire is there's an ornery Padre who done took over the town with a band of no good cowpokes. The folks in Empire ain't got the guts to run the Padre outta town, but that all changes when a mysterious drifter named "Red" rides into town.

Now you probably seen one of them Sergio Leone movies (he done directed a bunch of 'em with Clint Eastwood), and if you have, you know that mysterious drifters ridin' into town usually rustle up trouble, and lots of it. Sure enough, that's just what Red does, 'xactly like ya seen in a hundred other cowboy movies. The thing that makes this here mysterious drifter differ'nt is that Red is a Lady!

Yep, Red's a lady all right, and a darn purdy one too. Turns out Red's got hist'ry with one of the cowpokes in Empire, a feller named Lee (Bryan Elk) who owns the local saloon. The two of them come up with a scheme ta git rid of the Padre, and make themselves a fistful of dollars in the process too. Things don't exactly turn out how they planned and by the end of the play, the stage looks like Boot Hill. You ain't seen so many dead bodies in one place outside of a Sam Peckinpah movie!

Now, normally it ain't a bad thing fer a gal ta be purdy, but leadin' lady Jessica Wells is a might too purdy, if'n ya know what I mean. The gal just don't look like she's got the grit ta gun down a whole posse. Same can be said fer most of the cast. They might look and act like they're from the West, but you know in yer gut that they're really from back East. 'Course when you go to see a Western, you ain't exactly expectin' ta see Hamlet, so if the acting ain't the best in town it don't matter. On the other hand, Bob Brader sure made one mighty fine Padre.

The writer an' director, Frank Cwiklik, sure as hell knows his Westerns. This here play is one darn tootin' tribute to all things west of the Mississippi. It ain't fer everyone but, if you know who Lee Van Cleef is, you better strap on yer Peacemakers and mosey on down to 4th Street.

Yee haw!

(Also featuring Brandon Kalbaugh, Emily Mostyn Brown, Michael O'Brien, Matthew Gray, Adam Swiderski, Nicole Marsh, Steven Bloom C.J. LaRoche, Mercedes Emelina, Eva Gil, and Michelle Schlossberg.)

  Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 1
Set: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 2

Return to Volume Ten, Number Twenty-two Index

Return to Volume Ten Index

Return to Home Page

Copyright 2004 Charles Battersby