OK, I’ll say it; I’m afraid of Amy Jakiel. In Second Generation Theatre’s production of Cabaret last season, her character ratted out her neighbors to the Nazis. In this season’s WNY Premiere of Kragtar! The American Monster Musical, now onstage at Alleyway Theatre, she’s pure evil as a woman nicknamed Beard who beckons her husband by patting her thigh like you’d call a dog and admits to eating a Chik Filet. She is to be feared. She is also hysterical.
Besides that, Kragtar! Is a riot of a production, packed with so many laughs and gags and ‘breaking the fourth wall’ moments that it needs to be seen twice (at least) to take it all in. Take the best of Monty Python and amp it up with some current day news and some clever names and there you have it. Anthony Lazzaro and Justin Gaskill are the two (gay) scientists (It’s OK, they explain it in a song) named Harry Fine and Harvey Finkler searching for this beast that they think is wreaking havoc. And then they split up: Harvey decides to walk the straight and narrow (so to speak) and marries Beard whose real name is Beatice Eden Finkler, a fine Christian woman just dripping with traditional family values. Fine and his TA Trisch (Amanda Funicello) keep up the search. Little do they know, Kragtar has a secret all its own. Oopsy.
This is truly an ensemble piece, again in the spirit of Monty Python, which makes it very worthy of its Artie Award nom for best ensemble of a musical. Six cast members (Sarah Blewett, Emily Bassett, Jeremy Kreuzer, Nicholas Lama, Jetaun Louis, and Matthew Rittler) play multiple roles which all add to this wickedly funny dynamic, directed by Chris J Handley. Emma Schimminger had some fun with lighting and sound design that added to Tim McMath’s fun set. James Welch directed a four-piece house band for Kyle Wilson’s original music. Beard’s “Family Values” song s a hoot and Trisch’s “When You Find Your Love” is the perfect counter in its own way which is later underscored by “Love (The Most Powerful Thing” again led by Trisch with Fine and the ensemble. And therein lies the message. Yup, real sentiment and lovely, basic truth is often hiding behind spoofs and goofiness. It’s all so very good.
You know a show is hot when more performances are added, which means Kragtar is onstage until May 20. It’s a fast paced two hours, with one intermission. Get online for tickets now: https://www.alleyway.com/