Lagunatics – Better Late Than Never
By Tom Titus
Neither rain nor storm nor heat nor…mold can stop the No Square Theater’s Lagunatics from the eventual completion of their annual round of parodies.
The 2013 edition of the “roast of the coast” was all set to open last Oct. 5 in the Forum Theater on the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts grounds – and then someone found mold developing in the theater.
The show wasn’t canceled, but it was postponed indefinitely until a solution could be found. Now, three months later, the Lagunatics are back in action, playing at the Forum through Jan. 26.
Lagunatics, for the uninitiated, is the No Square Theater’s annual program of musical potshots at Laguna Beach and its many peculiarities. There’s so much material here that the current (2013) edition is the company’s 21st – all under the baton of founder-director Bree Burgess Rosen.
Inspired, most probably, by the “Forbidden Broadway” routines in which parodies are presented to the tune of popular musical numbers, Lagunatics also owes a creative debt to the legendary TV knee-slapper “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.” There’s nothing this show won’t do for a chuckle or a guffaw.
One might think all the satire might not sit well with Laguna’s municipal leaders. One would be mistaken, since two members of the Laguna Beach City Council – Steve Dicterow and Toni Iseman – also are in the Lagunatics troupe.
As is the case with many such endeavors, there are highs and lows. Among the highest is a backhanded tribute to the nearby, troubled San Onofre nuclear facility which Gregg Barnette (in his 12th year with Lagunatics) turns into a singalong called “San Oh-no-free.”
Probably the funniest bit is called “Eat Like a Goat” in which Joe Lauderdale and a chorus of prancing nannies celebrate flatulent goats to the tune of “If I Only Had a Brain” from “The Wizard of Oz.” The payoff line is “If I only didn’t fart.”
Other highlights include Bridget English’s “Besmirched,” set to the tune of “Bewitched” from “Pal Joey” and “Send Them Home,” based on “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables,” offered by Randy Hatfield — “Them,” in this case, being members of the audience.
One number is even more topical thanks to the postponement. Dicterow’s “Ring of Hire” laments an actor’s failure to be cast in the Laguna Playhouse’s tribute to Johnny Cash. Originally planned for last October, it’s now presented as the playhouse stages the actual show next door.
The proposed parking garage across Laguna Canyon Road from the festival – a live issue last October but a dead one today – gets the treatment from Jamie Elise Dana and Mark Dana, husband and wife, to the tune of Cole Porter’s “It’s De-lovely.”
Entitled “Gagtime,” a takeoff on the musical “Ragtime,” Lagunatics continues through
Jan. 26 with Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. for the Jan. 26 gala. Tickets may be ordered at http://www.nosquare.tix.com.
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