Doubles Crossed: The Ballad of Rodrigo

The Place: New York City.
The Time: Seven P.M.
The Day: May twenty-fourth.

A rainy night and everything seems swell…. or at least that’s what they want you to think. The polies. The mugs. The crimmies. They all want you to think it’s all fine and dandy. But behind the walls of Sally’s seemingly familial restaurant, things are anything BUT dandy. And that’s why I’m here. I am here to give you the truth about what goes on behind closed doors. The real story of that night. The Ballad of Rodrigo.

^^ How did I do? That was my attempt at executing a “film noir” introduction to this blog post about the Funny…Sheesh production’s nior inspired original play: Doubles Crossed: The Ballad of Rodrigo by Jason S. Grossman; The second in the Doubles Crossed trilogy (don’t worry, you don’t have to have seen 1 to understand 2).
Anyway, I think I did a pretty good job, let’s keep this going. Just picture me in a trench coat with a fedora, a cigarette, and possibly a gun. Here we go…

The driver of the Dead Street Thugs, Rodrigo, has been found dead. Somethin’ seems fishy cause this Rodrigo doesn’t fit the description of the guy we’re lookin’ for. Prepare for classic twists and chaos and you’ll see where the real Rodrigo has been hiding: plottin’ his revenge on Freddie, who bumped his father. Freddie? Isn’t Freddie dead? And who is this girl I’ve seen hangin’ round Sally’s place? You’ll find out who she’s workin’ for soon enough. Pay close attention, you don’t wanna get sacked for a crime you didn’t commit. But don’t worry, the only crime you’ll commit at this show is a having a damn good time. *Tips fedora, puts out cigarette, disappears into a dark alley*

Well I hope I didn’t give too much away. Despite what you see above, I kept all the twists a secret so you can see for yourself, no worries.
If you’re a fan of those classic 1940’s crime movies, you’re gonna love this play. It comes with the complete package. The character’s internal monologues, the swanky jazz music, and even the same cheesy lines such as “I snuffed somebody once” and “there’s no fast track to the end of the rainbow.” Classic! If you’re looking for a pessamistic play filled with fatality and malice, you’ve come to the right place. And before you take that for a bad review, please note that those are simply all aspects of a good Noir movie.

Director Amber Gallery did a nice job setting up this world for the audience. One of my favorite moments in the play was the very beginning when a criminal scene is projected in black and white on the back wall. This style framed where the play was going to take us and the cast stayed consistent with that framework. And speaking of the cast, what a lovely ensemble they are. Each character has many layers peeled away throughout the course of the play and I think each role was executed bravely.
You’ve got Rodrigo played by Matthew J. Nichols* – Nichols had the crazy eyes down pat. I approve of the serial killer vibe he sent out. However, one moment in the script – which may have been kept in for comedy purposes – took me out of the play. One character has a line referencing Rodrigo’s height saying he is 6 foot and Nichols is clearly not 6 feet. So that was a moment of chuckle but he was a great in the role, so who cares, right?
Then we have the lovely duo of Sally and her son Flapjack played by Cindy Keiter* and James Holden. Both characters have an innocence and naïveté that was carried out brilliantly by the two actors. They were both so fun to watch.
Gregory James Cohan had a fun role playing a guy who is pretending to be his brother who is actually dead. Cohan’s character also had a crippled hand and he did fantastic work with it. His commitment was outstanding.
And that just touches on the talent of this fabulous cast that includes Lars D. Drew,  Alison Parks, Ridley Parson*, Allen Warnock, and Charles Wilson (* indicates Actors Equity Association). The commitment and talent was key in making this noir piece come together.

Total side note: I appreciated the warning of gunshots at the start of the show. Those blank/cap guns often used in theatre make me jump sky high even when I know it’s coming. In this case, the gunshots were merely a sound effect, which saved me from jumping. But the warning was still very much appreciated.

So if you’ve been itching to see a good play, buy your tickets before it’s too late!

Single tickets: $18.00, Get tickets here: http://balladofrodrigo.brownpapertickets.com/

Showtimes:
Saturday, May 24, 7PM
Sunday, May 25, 3PM
Thursday, May 29, 8PM
Friday, May 30, 7PM
Saturday, May 31, 9PM
Sunday, June 1, 7PM
Tuesday, June 3, 8PM
Wednesday, June 4, 8PM
Wednesday, June 11, 8PM
Thursday, June 12, 8PM
Friday, June 13, 8:00PM
Saturday, June 14, 7PM
Sunday, June 15, 7PM
Friday, June 20, 8PM
Saturday, June 21, 9PM
Sunday, June 22, 3PM

 

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Sally and Flapjack (Cindy Keiter and James Holden)

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Freddie and Rodrigo (Gregory James Cohan and Matthew J. Nichols)

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