Lovemushroom Press
Feb 14, 2003

LA Weekly Theater Review / Pick Of The Week : Ramayana 2K3

LA Weekly
Feb 14, 2003
www.laweekly.com

©LA Weekly

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LA Weekly
Feb 14, 2003
www.laweekly.com

Theater / Pick Of The Week : Ramayana 2K3

Oh, no, not again! The evil Ravana (Will Watkins), King of Lanka and lord of the demonic Rakshasas, has pillaged heaven. Only Lord Vishnu (Rich Welmers), the Hindu god of preservation, can do much about it, and heís taking a nap. To make a long myth short, Vishnu wakes up for enough time to incarnate himself and his goddess mate back to Earth, where they become Rama and his wife, Sita (the stunningly beautiful Anahata). In the banishment of a forest, they challenge Ravana with an army of monkeys. Writer-director Robert A. Priorís Fabulous Monsters expand on their old tricks of lavish costumes (by Prior), shadow puppets, Stephen Hues swaying, callisthenic choreography and actors arriving from ceiling beams and slithering down ropes to enact Valmikiís 2,000-year-old poem, accompanied by Rara Avis's Eoriginal electronic music among other musical selections. The result is a cross between Star Wars and a rave. Almost none of the actors speaks dialogue, for each has a voice-over, rendering everyone a kind of puppet. In case you donít grasp whatís happening, the legend is told by two miked actors (Tim Ottoman and Alexan dra Saalik). They sum up plot turns, each of which is a mere excuse for another dance extravaganza. The energy and design are beyond reproach, though the effect does become somewhat redundant, probably because theyíve crammed into two and a half hours what could have fit in 90 minutes. Still, you wonít find anything else in town quite like it.
Fabulous Monsters at the Gascon Center Theater in the Helms Bakery Bldg., 8737 Wash ington Blvd., Culver City; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; thru March 2. (323) 857-7409. (Steven Leigh Morris)

©LA Weekly

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