Matt and Brad's excellent adventure


By Matt Shapiro and Brad Webb
Directed by Matt Shapiro and Brad Webb
Midtown International Theatre Festival/Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex Stage II
312 West 36th Street (212/279-4200;;
Non-union production (closes Aug. 2)
Review by Charles Battersby

Matt (Shapiro) and Brad (Webb) are a pair of losers who live in their parents' garage and are desperately seeking a way out. During the 80 minutes of BKC, the two concoct a variety of scams for financial independence, including becoming male strippers on the subway, forming a band, selling LSD, and making novelty "Sippy Straws."

The script (written by the same Matt and Brad) includes some funny moments, but it's mostly plotless. Eventually the pair decide to make "forming a band" their scheme of choice, and the only obstacle to their success is a lack of musical ability. When the two finally unveil their would-be #1 hit, there is little sense of triumph or accomplishment, mostly due to the lack of an antagonist or any tangible force working against them. An anticlimactic ending, only loosely connected to the rest of play, is the payoff for witnessing Matt and Brad's adventures.

The script does contain numerous funny gags, including the titular "Ball Kicking Contest," but most of these gags run on for far too long to hold the interest (watching two guys kick each other in the mansack looses it's comic appeal real fast). Matt and Brad directed their own work, and the lack of an impartial director showed, since too many of these potentially comic moments became lengthy scenes that were mercilessly run into the ground. Most of the laughs came from physical comedy (at which Webb is quite good), rather than from the script itself.

Despite the script issues, both actors were very committed to the project and the loser characters still ended up being sympathetic, even likable. It also takes an actor with a lot of balls to strip down to his underwear and engage in a "Ball Kicking Contest," in front of a live audience (let's see Barrymore and Olivier do THAT).

Most scenes ended with multimedia sequences that were played on a TV set located upstage, yet chronic technical difficulties (with an uppity DVD player that didn't respond to its remote) reduced the impact of these movies. In defense of Shapiro and Web, the video scenes were very funny when they did play -- in fact, they were probably funnier than the live material.

Design and tech were kept to their simplest form; aside from the breakaway stripper pants, the costumes were essentially street clothes. The set was a pile of furniture, which was functional yet still looked like a pile of stuff upstage, and the actors themselves ran the DVD player that showed the multimedia segments.

At times BKC seems like the product of Matt and Brad's fictional counterparts (two guys who live in their parents' garage) rather than the work of a genuine theatre company. It was drastically underproduced and proved that it takes more than two guys operating out of a garage to make a play. But for all its faults it did show a bit of potential, and hopefully this amusing duo will make another show, less centered on testicle kicking.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 0
Acting: 1
Sets: 0
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2003 Charles Battersby