Archikulture Digest

Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs

By Quentin Tarantino

Adapted by David Strauss

Directed by Leesa Halstead

G.O.A.T. Theatre, Winter Park FL</strong>

There are two general types who shoot up a place – the revolutionary who wishes to transform society, the thief who wishes acceptance in society. Joe Cabot (Bret Carson) and his ensemble of color coded burglars claim professionalism, and that professionalism boils down to not having been caught recently. When a jewelry store heist blows up in their face, bullets fly and its clear there’s a rat in the kitchen, but whom? Mr. Brown (Channing Ogzewalla) isn’t a consideration, he’s dead. Mr. Orange (Stephen Pugh) took a bullet in his gut, and that’s enough for Mr. White (Paul Castaneda). Mr. White and Mr. Pink (Rob Delmonico) debate the other options – Mr. Blue (Charles Dent) is late to the rendezvous, Mr. Blond (Steve Hurst) started the shooting but thoughtfully brought along a cop hostage (Erik Morris) for everyone to torture, and Nice Guy Eddie (Strauss) is Cabot’s son. It takes Cabot himself to figure out what’s going on, but when a Mexican standoff goes bad only Mr. Pink is left to arrest. It’s “Titus Andronicus” with guns.

This is not a family oriented, positive values show. Expletives replace punctuation marks, we smell the demon weed tobacco, guns fire real blanks, and a gruesome mutilation scene half way through will turn your stomach. More than a few blood packs get out of control, including one that made a violent exclamation point on the video screen used to show those tricky exteriors that don’t fit on stage very neatly. The acting had its ups and down – some monologs felt read rather than acted, but Brett Carson scared me with his Uncle Festus make up, and Steven Pugh did a nice job of bleeding to death with his gut shot. Late in the show, Erik Morris did superb blood drool during one of the gun battles. You had to bee in the right seat to see it, so many may have missed it.

The biggest issue on stage relates to the truism “Film is not theater”. Flashbacks are best set in 35 mm, and rapid cuts between short scenes meant the second act was full of blackouts with furniture movement that broke the mood and tension of the show. While some of this is part and parcel for film-to-stage adaptation, it slowed things down when they should have been accelerating. Still, “Reservoir Dogs” is a strong opening for G.O.A.T. in its new space, and the neighborhood and internal space fit right in with the mood of this staged film. Bear in mind there is a splatter zone, and the best seats aren’t necessarily in the front row.

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