Guns, blood, torture and all the f-bombs you'd expect from a Quentin Tarantino film. But this heist isn't on screen; it's on the stages of Theater Schmeater as they present the Seattle premiere of Erika Anne Soerensen's gender bending parody of Tarantino's first film with "Reservoir Dolls". Beyond being an interesting take on juxtaposed gender roles, it's also an opportunity to see some local Seattle actresses sink their teeth into some iconic male roles and inhabit themselves with these violent characters.
Structurally just like in the movie, Jo (Karen Jo Fairbrook) and her daughter, Nice Gal Edie (Megan Ahiers) have assembled a crew of ladies to pull off a diamond heist. But the plan is to have a crew that doesn't know each other so if one of them is caught, they cannot give any information about the rest to the cops. So instead of their real names we only know them as Ms. Orange (Lori Lee Haener), Ms. White (Christine White), Ms. Blue (Julia Griffin), Ms. Pink (author Erika Anne Soerensen), Ms. Brown (Julia Leonas) and Ms. Blonde (Lisa Viertel). But when the heist goes wrong and the alarm is tripped, the unstable Ms. Blonde begins to take matters into her own hands by shooting everyone in the place. So when the surviving members of the job meet back up at the hideout, accusations and suspicions abound as to the real cause of their downfall.
Soerensen and director J.D. Lloyd seem to take glee in transplanting this world of machismo over to the more feminine side. If you're looking for a message here, there really doesn't seem to be one. There is no feminist statement other than that these actresses can handle these characters as well as any man. And handle them they do.
I was especially impressed with Haener, White and Viertel. Haener took a bit to settle in but once faced with the fatal dilemma of her character, Ms. Orange's moments really rang true. White's character of Ms. White was one of the most solid throughout and she really managed to convey the dilemma and internal struggle of her. And Viertel's Ms. Blonde was one of the scariest, most unbalanced psychotic time bombs I've seen. Laser focused and driven, you really could see that Blonde was completely in control of what she was doing and who she was. And who she was turned out to be a complete sociopath. I should also mention a brief but disturbing performance by Ben Burris as the kidnapped cop. Gut wrenching and frightening, I truly felt from his screams that these women were really torturing him.
With a gorgeous recreation of the movie set by Al Angel and some really nice blood effects from Griffin, who is also listed as "Blood Captain", the show may not be the most profound piece I've seen, but damn was it a ton of fun. So if you're looking for a bloody good time with some vicious bitches, then you've come to the right place. Just don't argue about which color you've been given and don't piss off Ms. Blonde.
"Reservoir Dolls" plays at Theater Schmeater through June 18th. For tickets or information visit them online at www.schmeater.org.
Photo credit: D. Hastings