I want to begin this review by saying that there is nothing more painful than having to admit that someone’s work of art, something they poured a lot of time, effort, and artistry into, wasn’t enjoyable.
But that’s my summary of Nearly Naked Theatre’s production of Snake in Fridge. What appeared to be a raucous romp in the vein of, say, Rocky Horror Picture Show was actually more like an afterschool special.
I felt like the majority of fault rested with the playwright. At two and a half hours, the play is just too long, too rambling, unfocused. The dialog is clunky and unrealistic, as evidenced by the actor’s tripping over their words on several occasions. The story tried to weave too many subplots, some of which didn’t even come to a resolution. For example, the synopsis alludes to the fact that the house in the play “may or may not be demanding a human sacrifice,” but that doesn’t even come into play until after the first hour of the play elapses!
The play was rated “NC-17” by the theatre, and we were not short on wang (pun intended) in this show. There was a lot of wang running around the stage, and some boobs (in context). I’m not offended by nudity unless it’s my own. What was admirable to me, though, was that almost every male actor in the show went buff at some point—admirable because the theatre itself was about 20 degrees.
The performances weren’t among the best I’ve seen in Valley theatre, but many of them were uneven. I keep feeling, though, that the script didn’t give the actors much to go on. Characters were charicatures and had few interesting qualities. One character, Randy, wasn’t even fully developed in the script, and another, Charles, inexplicably appears in the second act.
This play was an unfortunate mess, but it’s true redeeming quality was that this production company tried everything they could to get it to work. The best part by far was the set design, which incorporated no less than 20 individual smaller sets, ranging from a nudie bar to a bathroom to a dance club to–yes–even the driver’s seat of a car, complete with headlights. This innovative set-up kept the play working on the few credible legs it had going for it.