The Trocks aren’t the only dudes in drag at this year’s festival. The Footlight Players’ production of Devil Boys from Beyond features an all-male cast playing women, men, and little green men, too.
Written by Buddy Thomas and Kenneth Elliott, the play spoofs classic 1950s sci-fi flicks, and does an all-around convincing job of it. The music, costumes, and over-acting all help to transport the audience to a simpler, cheesier time — with a modern, rated R twist.
The play begins with Florence Wexler (David Graham), a little old lady in Lizard Lick, Fla., describing a recent visit from a flying saucer. When a struggling New York newspaper gets the scoop (and a mayonnaise jar containing what appears to be an alien fetus), they commit to pursuing the story in the name of saving the paper. Because print journalism is dying, after all.
Pulitzer-winning journalist Mattie Van Buren (Ryan Masson) and her ex-husband, photographer Gregory Graham (Stephen Moskos) take the first flight down to Lizard Lick. The pair argues about their divorce and Gregory’s alcoholism (which caused it), but they soon run into more serious problems. There’s Lucinda Marsh (Jimmy Flannery), the glam-but-aging A&E writer following them to steal the story. Then there’s the matter of some locals who seem to be acting very strangely. Like any sci-fi movie worth its salt, the plot makes shocking twists and turns, and ends, a little lamely, where you’d never expect.
The “ladies,” played by Masson (of CofC’s Pillowman) and Flannery (who was Riff Raff in Little City Musical Theatre’s Rocky Horror Show Live!) shine the brightest. From the beginning, Masson plays a convincing woman, while Flannery is more of a hilarious caricature. As competing journalists, their catty exchanges are a highlight, crossing the line when least expected — words like “muffdiver” and “cocksucker” do slip from their lady-like lips occasionally.
As the Lizard Lick natives, Graham (Annoyance, The Sound of Music) and Jeff Craver as Dottie Primrose (Cabaret, The Emperor is Naked?) give the goofiest performances. And though he barely says two lines, Clint Edens as Velma and the stewardess gets big laughs. (Fashion Week fans will recognize him as 2009 Stiletto Stampede costume contest winner Trixie Kawasaki.)
Devil Boys‘ men are overshadowed by the ladies, though we will give props to Tyler Hill and Justin Avery as the aliens, for wearing so little onstage. As Gilbert Wiatt, Fred Hutter plays a convincingly frantic newspaper editor. The weakest link is Moskos (most recently from the Village Playhouse’s War of the Worlds), who delivers a few cringe-worthy lines.
Like we said before, the ending is a little ridiculous, but so is this entire play — and that’s the beauty of it. If you read the title and see the poster and don’t realize what you’re getting into, you deserve an anal probe.