It’s that time of year again! Nope, not Christmas time, not supper time, but MASHUP TIME!! The third annual Mashup Fest hosted by Landless Theatre Company takes to the stages late night at GALA Hispanic Theatre, immediately following Landless’s main stage production of the Prog-Metal Opera, Frankenstein. Playing in two installments, featuring a total of four shows, the shenanigans are hysterical and give you a theatrical experience that’s squished full of laughs.
This year’s line-up includes two major segments, The Mashup Fest: Re-Animated Edition, featuring The Walking Fred and Saving Private Pooh. Walking Fred as it sounds is a Mashup of, you guessed it, Fred Flintstone of The Flintstone’s and The Walking Dead. Written by Maurice Martin, and Directed by Erik Morrison, the funny combination of stone age comic cave men meets zombie apocalypse promises to be a gay old time of zombies galore. Saving Private Pooh takes the loveable characters of the Hundred Acre Woods and splashes them right in the center of WWII, a la the plot line of Saving Private Ryan. Directed by Steve Custer and written by Custer and Ian Hoch, what a willy nilly silly old bear story this is going to be!
The alternative segment of this year’s fest is The Mashup Fest: Urban Legend Edition, featuring Trapped in the Convent and True Blood Spatter. Taking a classic musical, such as The Sound of Music, which some might say is the highlight of Julie Andrews’ career, and condensing it into a 20-minute rap music video a la R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet may be the most absurdly hilarious thing you see all summer. Written by Andrew L. Baughman, the company’s artistic director, and Directed by Karissa Swanigan-Upchurch, the audience gets a healthy dose of repetitive rap and some hysterical lip-synch moments.
True Blood Spatter brings the infamous serial killer with a good cause, some might think he’s a lot like Dexter, together against those crazy True Blood vampire demons of the night. This epic Mashup is written by returning Mashup author Kerri Sheehan and Directed by Chris Griffin layers in the humor – even for those of us that don’t watch Dexter or True Blood.
Having so far seen the Urban Legend Edition, I can say that the creative hyjinx that Landless is getting up to with these shows is definitely worth sticking around for, or even making a special trip all its own to go and see.
Trapped in the Convent is a really funny satire of sorts, cracking fun at the repetitive style of rap music and the extremely-long drawn out musical that everyone idolizes. The fact that all the major plot points are hit in this show shows Baughman’s keen knowledge of the show, while still infusing a great deal of humor. The most epic thing about it is actor Patrick M. Doneghy as “Urban Legend Edition” the rapper on stage who lip syncs to the whole story as it is told in cliché rap, a voiceover recorded by Doneghy and synthesized to sound more authentic to the music style. His facial expressions and ‘rap dance gestures’ are uproarious and make this Mashup well worth seeing.
Line of the show: “We ain’t got the budget for three kids, let alone seven or eight.” Which results in having only the oldest and youngest “VonTrapp” children featured throughout the remainder of the performance. The fact that it pokes fun at itself as a low-budget rap music video just adds to the hilarity.
Actor Lucrezia Blozia takes on the iconic role of Maria Von Trapp and owns it with some girlish charm. Everyone’s lip-synching is on a slight delay, which is even funnier because you can see them perfectly articulating everything that is said while being just a split second behind the music. This is indeed a thorough mockery of the rap music video and makes it all the more entertaining as the show winds to its “twist of an ending” with Mother Abbess (Karissa Swanigan, who has the most animated facial features) unveiling some secrets along with a few others.
True Blood Spatter is a maniacal journey through the backwoods of po’dunk, featuring “Dex” and his crazy sister who have been transplanted there for reasons unknown. Knowing precious little about both True Blood and Dexter, I found myself thoroughly entertained and amused because author Kerri Sheehan really incorporates all of the basic elements of each show so that those of us with no prior knowledge can still follow along and enjoy. The jokes are well-placed, the writing is comical without feeling contrived, and overall it’s a romping good time.
Dex (Matthew Baughman) has the gestures of the serial killer down to a tee, slapping himself upside the head and looking terribly contemplative as his internal monologue (a voice-over done by the actor) plays aloud. His sister, Deb Spencer (Ally Jenkins), is the epitome of the TV character, so I’m told, because in the show she’s batshit crazy and Jenkins lives up to her fully insane potential. Jenkins is a particularly entertaining character actor, making the spicy flavorful language of Deb really hit the audience in the fact like a stake to the heart.
On the True Blood side of things there’s Suzy Stuckout (Karissa Swanigan) who has the perfect southern twang to her voice and is a real pip when it comes to questioning Dex’s internal monologue, which she and she alone can hear. Then there’s Will Comstock (Ernie Achenbach) the charming and svelte southern gentleman vampire who finds himself in a world of trouble, again with that perfect southern accent. The scene stealer here is Napoleon (Patrick M. Doneghy) who plays the stereotype of a ghetto man with an attitude like nobody’s business. Doneghy is once again a barrel of laughs and owns every melodramatic ‘screamin’-queen’ moment of his character’s existence on the stage.
Of course it wouldn’t be true to the True Blood nature if we didn’t have some dark and sinister vampires. And also a werewolf. Joseph T. Aquilina, a huge hulking figure, growls and angers sort of like the hulk gone furry in his wolf-cameo. Amy Baska and Andrew Wodziansky take on the roles of head vampires, sleek and slick and devilishly charming, really making things awkwardly sexual during this production. Watch out for the blast of Buffy The Vampire Slayer style ending, since we all know Buffy has the original and best vamps in town.
Running Time: Approximately 60 minutes, with a brief intermission.
Mashup Fest plays through June 28, 2013 at GALA Hispanic Theatre at Tivoli Square – 3333 14th Street NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets,, purchase them at the door or online.