Sunday, May 24, 2015

"Utopiacopia" by Frosty Bob and J's Summer Camp at Bryant Lake Bowl

Grab your boarding pass and your carry-on luggage and prepare to board the aircraft. But don't worry, our destination isn't somewhere boring like San Francisco or San Antonia, it's a newly discovered planet called Utopiacopia. A land over the rainbow, just to the right of space, where there isn't any trouble, the energy comes from Red Bull, and the only three animals are tabby cats, short-haired cats, and snuggly cats (sounds like my kind of place!). But the most super special thing about Utopiacopia is... well, you'll just have to go see the show to find out. Because sadly, Utopiacopia isn't a real place, but happily it is a super fun, sweet, and entertaining show by Frosty Bob and J's Summer Camp, aka Robert Frost and Justin Caron. The last show is tonight at Bryant Lake Bowl, so make plans quickly if you don't want to miss this fun flight. And keep an eye on their Facebook page for future journeys to Utopiacopia and elsewhere.

Justin Caron as Marcy (photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp)
Our host for this journey is intrepid flight attendant Marcy, played by Justin Caron (who also wrote the show) in full drag, red cat eye glasses, a beehive hairdo, and heels. She's at times enthusiastic, annoyed, excited, and exasperated as she leads us on this journey. As flight attendants do, she instructs us to buckle our seat belts, makes sure we've had enough to eat, relays messages from the pilot who calls her on the yellow corded phone, and encourages us to order from SkyMall. And of course, hands out the oxygen preservers, which will come in handy. At times she leaves us passengers by ourselves, which is coincidentally when a certain blue gingham attired young woman from Kansas mistakenly comes aboard with her stuffed white tiger dog Toto. Marcy spends a good deal of energy chasing this "intruder," and eventually catches her to hilarious effect. But do we eventually reach our destination? I won't spoil the ending, but perhaps our destination isn't some faraway planet, but something a little more close to home.

As Marcy and Dorothy, Justin is completely charming and disarming. And when the two characters meet in one body, it's something quite ridiculous (in a good way). There is quite a bit of audience participation and the house lights remain on throughout most of the show. As a Minnesotan, this sort of thing typically makes me uncomfortable, but it's done in a fun and non-threatening way. And it turns out one of the best parts of the show is watching Justin play with the audience, and vice versa. There were several kids in the audience the night I attended, and they seemed to be having as much fun as anyone with the playful nature of the show. But there are also some surprisingly poignant moments, like when Dorothy tells a story about a childhood ride on the freeway in a convertible jeep. And while I might not be a fan of audience participation in general, I am a fan of a sing-along, and this show includes a very sweet one.

The show (directed by the other half of Frosty Bob and J, Robert Frost) makes great use of the space at BLB. Before the show the stage is bare and the windows are open. We first see Marcy dragging a red trunk down Lake Street. Once inside she's in the audience as much as she's on the stage, running up and down the stairs and in and out various doors.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect of this show before I saw it, but I found it to be funny and silly and sweet. As usual at BLB, full bar and food service is available throughout the show, which is about 70 minutes long, so you can make a night of it (and even bring the kids). And a fun and entertaining night it is.