- RLn Staff
By John Farrell
Goose and Tomtom is so many plays at once that any description, any attempt to tell you what it is all about, simply fails. Yes, it is about two hapless gun-crazy would-be robbers who can’t figure out where their loot went. It’s also about the dreams they keep having, (one seriously believes he was a frog – who knows,) about sex (though not drugs,) about the beauty of a sunrise. It’s nearly as filled with existential angst as Waiting for Godot (youtube/b542GxhzYiw). which it resembles at first, before the Princess is found tied-up hanging in the closet. And, oh yeah, don’t forget the aliens.
Goose is Matthew Anderson, Tomtom is Paul Knox, and they are as strange a duo as any playwright could dream up: violent as all get out with their shoulder holsters and homicidal tendencies, with the boxes they break over each others heads, with their off-hand excursions into serial rape. At the same time they are poetical in their appreciation of the daylight, gentle children in a world that is very different from our day-to-day world, and at the same time very familiar.
Knox’s Tomtom is the poetical one, serious about the sunrise, surprised and angry that ghosts stole the treasure they had concealed in their hovel of an apartment. (He was awake to see that sunrise because of the ghosts.)
Anderson’s Goose is a wide-eyed innocent: he can have a box broken over his head and blame the box. He is easily manipulated, far too easily manipulated. When Lorraine (the lovely and manipulative Jessica Variz) appears on the scene, dressed in a very low-cut gown, both men are clearly in love with her, but Tomtom is her choice. She makes mad love to him offstage, but manages to secure his liver while they are in the throes of love-making and uses it, which she keeps in her pocket, to torture him.
She wants her jewels returned, at first a gangster’s moll who wants the loot but soon enough a despairing woman who, when her jewels are returned, likes them for their bright colors.
Lorraine finds Lulu (Kristal Greenlee) hanging in the closet, bound and gagged, apparently a sex toy but soon much more as she tells her story: she is the Princess, resigned to her fate, waiting rescue.
Bingo (Robert Edward,) Lulu’s brother and lover, dressed in a snazzy suit and vest, comes to rescue her, but is easily tied up by the duo and beaten (with newspapers.) He doesn’t seem to mind that that much. Edwards plays Bingo with an odd but pleasant laugh and a magnetic personality, a creature of superb confidence. Only late in his appearance does he realize he isn’t going to be around much longer. Goose takes him on a ride and kills him.
Aaron Van Geem finally brings the story to an end when he appears as a space alien and kidnaps Lorraine. Goose and Tomtom aren’t much surprised, and end the play asleep on the ground, pretty much in the state they were in before.
The externals of the story are incidental: what matters is the poetry of the words, the sublime ridiculousness of the whole story. Set in a creepy and very effective set made of boards and filled with torn newspapers, designed by Curtis Jerome, who also gets credit for the costumes, the tale unfolds slowly and deliciously. Eric Hamme directs this production, which was also his first production for Garage ten years ago. Then seven people saw the fledgling production. (All seven have been invited back.) Now they have developed an audience that appreciate this delightful, thoughtful and thoroughly wacky kind of theater. You will too.
Tickets are $18 general admission, $15 for students. Saturday, April 28 at 8 p.m., Thursday, May 3 at 8 p.m., Friday, May 4 at 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. through May 19.
Details: (562) 433-8337, www.thegaragetheatre.org
Venue: Garage Theatre
Location: 251 E. 7th St., Long Beach