Written by Patrick Chavis
Maverick Theatre’s production of Reefer Madness is a wild, fast-paced, humorous night of song and satirical drug humor – doobie not required. It’s a hilarious show all on its own.
Reefer Madness is a satirical comedy about goody-two-shoes, high school student Jimmy Harper (Brian Wiegel). He’s crushing on Mary Lane (Mackenzie Greiner) and wants to give her his class ring to show his love. Before he can provide Mary Lane with the ring and confess his love, Jimmy falls in with Jack (Frank Tyron), a weed dealer. We watch as marijuana takes over Jimmy’s life through song.
This is a well constructed musical. The material is goofy since it’s making fun of drug propaganda from the 1930s, which deserves to be made fun of due to its ridiculousness. The conflict in this musical is classic — something we can all relate to. It’s a love story — loosely referencing Romeo & Juliet but in a silly way. On the night I went, there were no dry eyes in the house. People laughed continuously throughout the show. I laughed throughout most of the show. The show is a comedy, and if people are not laughing, something is wrong. That was not the case here.
Brian Wiegel as Jimmy was fantastic. His facial expressions and manic action were terribly funny in a good way. I loved everything he did in this show. Mackenzie Greiner as Mary Lane, the love interest, has a wonderful voice and sang her parts well. She’s a natural on stage, transitioning from proper to naughty in a snap. Frank Tyron plays the villain Jack as well as you could play the part. Loved this cast — they gave it their all.
While there’s not a huge big pit of live musicians at the Maverick, they have some great live drumming from Sho Fujieda, the resident drummer at the theatre. The live drums add a little more kick to the music and are an excellent contribution to the show.
Similar to other productions I’ve seen at this theater, the sets were practical but effective. The giant doobie constructed for the show was the cherry on the top.
This is a great night of night of theater that is beautifully directed and put together by Brian Newell.