Orange County Theatre Reviews

(Photo credit: Doug Catiller, True Image Studio)

Written by Patrick Chavis

Pro-wrestling and theatre. When you think about it, it’s not a weird combination. Isn’t pro-wrestling recycled theatre with jocks? The stage is the wrestling ring, and the script determines the outcome. The only things that change are the characters (wrestlers), the storyline, and the performance. The Chance Theatre puts on a spectacle with the pro-wrestling satire The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity.

Londale Theus Jr. and Rudy Solis III in Chance Theater’s OC premiere of “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity.” Playing September 23-October 23, 2022 at Bette Aitken theater arts Center on the Cripe Stage. Written by Kristoffer Diaz; Directed by Jeremy Aluma; Fight Direction by Martin Noyes. Photo by Doug Catiller, True Image Studio

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is a play centered around Mace (Rudy Solis III), a Mexican Luchador wrestler who loves pro-wrestling. Still, he is relegated to the role of the villain or heel position with little to no possibility of that ever-changing. In hopes of shaking things up, he invites his Indian friend Vigneshwar Padua (RJ Navarra Balde II) to join the wrestling franchise. When they are forced to play stereotypical characters to make it in the federation, the wrestlers must decide what narrow path they want to take. This play covers the topics of politics, values, culture, racism, classism, and American capitalism.

Story:

The play lacks subtlety on purpose. The playwright wants everything happening in the play to be very clear. Not only is this play political, but the play is about capitalism in the United States and how it affects people. What makes the play interesting is how well the playwright implemented his view of capitalism through the mechanics of pro-wrestling and humor. Kristoffer Diaz, the writer of this play, has written a very entertaining and genuinely funny script. I had a great time watching this show. My biggest issue would be with some of the show’s long monologues. The writing often goes on for so long that it seems like overkill.

Set:

WOW! The Chance transformed the entire theatre into a wrestling arena. The ring has the proper wrestling ropes to perform stunts, and the actual floor gives the added bounce you notice in pro matches. No detail was left out of this.

It’s pretty exhilarating being in the audience as the actors interact with the audience like it’s an actual wrestling match.

The actors’ physicality when performing on stage was beautifully choreographed by Fight Director Martin Noyes. The pro-wrestling geek inside of me flew out of my body. It was pretty miraculous. It was the miraculous entrance of my childhood – my God. This show is a feast for the eyes of those who grew up watching pro-wrestling.

Direction:

I think Jeremy Aluma deserves a three-count for the direction of this show. It’s firing on all cylinders. The cartoony, macho bravado of the Attitude era from the WWE that comes out in this show could only come from someone who loves pro-wrestling, and it was felt throughout this production.

Acting:

Rudy Solis’s (Mace) performance and character are the heart and soul that keeps this show moving.

James Mchale as Everett K. Olson and Londale Theus Jr. as Chad Deity are electric when they’re on stage together, and I am still laughing about it as I’m writing the review. The comedy chops in this show are otherworldly.

Londale Theus Jr.’s performance is phenomenal. He’s got the arrogance and bravado of Gaston from Beauty and the Beast and lays it on thick almost the entire show. His characterization is portrayed very clearly in this production. This is important, especially in this story, because all of the characters are intertwined in this artificial ecosystem and how Chad Deity is portrayed as the “hero” in quotation marks also affects the understanding of the other characters’ predicament.

This is such a challenging show to pull off, and the chance did it justice. If we are talking about pure unadulterated comedy, this is one of the best comedy shows of the year.

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GREAT SHOW! OCR RECOMMENDED! 
Review
8.7 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
Story9
Acting8.5
Set & Design9
Costumes8.5
Entertainment8.5
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