We Don’t Play Fight
Dr. Phillips Center
Conquer Pro Wrestling
With Jason Skinner, Jeancel Llanes
-bff This show just keeps on improving. We’ve all seen pro wrestling, and the consensus is “This is all fake.” Well, so is 99.999% of what I talk about here, so let’s focus on its entertainment value rather than some theoretic concept of veracity. We’ve got a blind trainer and promoter VK (Skinner); a bunch of guys trying to climb the wresting ladder under VK, and a kid (Llanes) with cancer. The backstage is a catty as any drag show, but the action is solid authentic.
Tonight’s McGuffin is a grumpy landlord (Kathryn Fabbroni) goes on and on about paying the rent on the training venue. A community theater group is shaping the space, and they decide to team up and fight the evil landlord by paying the rent. Gasp. Deep down this is an old Mickey Rooney movie about putting on a show in an old barn to save the orphanage, but there’s way more testosterone. Act Two takes us to the wrestling show, and the community theater types must be back stage handling costumes. The matches are clever: A drunken Irishman takes on a feisty Spaniard. A creepy clown triumphs in a 6-way match and loses his face paint. Two women wrestlers go at it while looking fabulous the whole time. And my favorite: the Spanish guy takes on a guy with a prosthetic leg in a battle over who can capture the American flag. This one comes complete with a real honor guard and the national anthem. Yee haw, baby!
Unlike most theater, the audience is encouraging to hoot and holler. The woman down the aisle focused on insulting the bad guys, a man in the gallery found he could pound the safety walls to make a big noise, and a kid with cancer got saved while another cancer survivor wrestled for his honor. And YES, there was an American flag, and YES there was a battle with the prosthetic leg. The only thing that could have improved this show was a fly over by the Thunder Birds and John Philip Sousa raising from the grave to sing the lyrics from “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” The testosterone flows freely, and I’ll bet the Harry Potter concert next door heard us.