Fringe review: ‘Reefer Madness!!! The Play!!!,’ Economic Stimulus Productions, St. Petersburg, FL
By Elizabeth Maupin
There’s an addiction going around the Fringe – an addiction to the cornball comedy that is Reefer Madness, a show that turned up in musical form a couple of years ago and has returned in the style of melodramatic ‘50s TV drama. Produced by a group from St. Petersburg, this version looks deliberately low-budget, with handmade posters (one of them misspelled), purposely awful wigs and a smoke machine that doesn’t work. (I suspect, in the case of the smoke machine, that the malfunction isn’t deliberate.)
The homemade lighting gets distracting, and I’m not sure why T. Scott Wooten, as the narrator, carries around his script. But the exaggerated acting style is sure and funny, and the adaptation is a stitch, with phrases like “ganja goons,” “weedface” and other ridiculous slang. “He’s not too jazzed about that chick getting popped with my heater,” someone says. Whatever.
Reefer Madness sputters out well before it ends, but there’s plenty of comedy here – in the very, very large imaginary joint one of the drug fiends rolls, in the language and especially in the intense, frenetic performance of Michael Titone as the fiends’ main victim. (Katie Castonguay and Jan Ray round out the cast.) This is good fun – and if you can nab one of Reefer Madness’s brownies, do it. You won’t be sorry.
Remaining shows: 10:50 p.m. Wednesday 5/26, 10:05 p.m. Friday 5/28, 11 p.m. Saturday 5/29, 4:20 p.m. Sunday 5/30. Brown venue.