If you gather up a gang of people that represent the worst of Hollywood’s stereotypes, throw in a murderous plot, and sprinkle everything with a dose of dark humor, you would have THE MIDNIGHT MENAGERIE.
The premise is as follows. Guiseppe Bloomingo (Manny Rodriguez), a screenwriter with a not so subtle mobster background is pissed. Why? His first screenwriting attempt has been treated poorly by the folks in Hollywood he trusted to bring it to life. What is any person to do? Invite all of the people over for a dinner party to die for.
This is definitely not a show that I’d recommend for everyone. There’s blood, vomit, gore, and irredeemable characters that will make you question the further decline of humanity. If you’re not into gross bodily fluid-type gags, it is probably best to avoid the show. There’s also a general cynicism that takes root in the script so, if you’re looking for a work that is uplifting, this is not the production for you. I am definitely confident in saying that this is probably not something you should take your kids to see.
The cast is strong and tackles the overzealous characters featured in the one act with ease. Each cast member is given their own moments to shine throughout the course of the hour. My favorites of the bunch were Niko Papastefanou’s Erol and Tom Vohasek’s socially awkward lawyer Salsman. Kelly Washington dove into the role of an aging Hollywood actress trying to remain relevant in Hollywood while Michael Callas swaggered around the stage as the chauvinistic actor Ari. Maiya Reeves shone in her role as booking agent Gretchen and I was kind of rooting for her. Kailin Ruby’s Rose was relatable in a way that a murdering servant probably shouldn’t be.
Overall, Brandon Nicholas Pfeltz’s THE MIDNIGHT MENAGERIE is a naughty, satirical romp that tackles the worst components of Hollywood while also exploring the ugly side of humanity. It’s not something that everyone can enjoy, but if you’re willing to embrace the absurd and the cynical, this is the show for you.
THE MIDNIGHT MENAGERIE is being staged at the Dorie Theatre at the Complex in Hollywood. The show has wrapped up for its run, but you can learn more about the show here.