a three-minute video preview!
A SONG FROM THE SHOW!
PEG LEG PEG sing "THE BALLAD OF THE WEST"!
as performed by Kerry
Morrigan on "Arts in Review" - KPFK 90.7 FM
Tricklock members Joe Peracchio, Kerry Morrigan and Kate Schroeder
interviewed by Julio Martinez for "Arts in Review" on KPFK
©2005 KPFK FM
FROM THE SACRED FOOLS RUN!
WEEKLY (Pick of the Week!)
It’s 1881 as Peg Leg Peg (Kerry
Morrigan) sings about the grand ol’ days of gunslinging. Since being civilized is being already half dead, Peg, Wild Bill (Byron Laurie), Delilah Star (Summer Olsson), Lester T. Higgins (Joe
Peracchio), Baby Belle Parker (Kate Schroeder) and Kid Slim Torrington (Kevin R. Elder) are cheerily resurrecting playwright William H. Bonnie’s near-messianic exploits to inspire other proto-savage young’uns, just as baby Billy was himself invigorated by a traveling skit about the Silver City Slayer. Peracchio’s direction of his delightful performers is as outlandish and exaggerated as the (largely fictitious) biographical yarn they’re spinning; the company doesn’t walk on stage if they can leap, stomp or cavort. Sheathed in their carnival show is an allegory about the ascension of the tabloid age. (Even Billy quotes his own press clippings.) Without breaking character, they slyly dig at another reckless cowboy named W. (To a marked man pleading he’d never hurt a soul, Billy drawls, “You haven’t, but you might.”) Peracchio pulls his tongue out of his cheek by allowing those murdered souls resonance: In a ghastly moment, they speak their minds before the poof of a vintage camera makes them history.
©2005 L.A. Weekly
A hilarious Old
"Come in, don't be shy," says saloon girl Delilah Star. She and fellow shill Lester T. Higgins beckon us into a dusky arena, where fulsome Baby Belle Parker acts as giggling timekeeper. Upstage, their fellow Tricklock Company members lurk behind a burlap Wild West show drop, like triple-threat rattlers ready to strike when least expected.
There you have "The Glorious and Bloodthirsty Billy the Kid," which ends its limited tour of Sacred Fools Theatre on Saturday. Galloping in from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by way of Albuquerque, this tickling bust-up draws a bawdy absurdist bead on America's affection for murderous galoots.
Created and directed by Joe Peracchio with various Tricklock members, "Billy the Kid" takes no prisoners. It spins out the saga of William Bonney from cradle to grave with song, dance and references that careen from commedia and circuses to "Deadwood" and the Three Stooges. Beneath the sleight-of-hand and slapstick, "Billy" has a subtle topical pulse amid the mania, shot through with rambunctious invention from its redoubtable troupe in multiple roles.
Kevin R. Elder's naive Billy grows into grinning killer before our eyes. Kerry Morrigan makes a strong-voiced Peg Leg Peg, a touching Mrs.
Bonney, and the funniest codger this side of Tim Conway. Gimlet-eyed director Peracchio lands his dynamic extremes as Lester and other sidewinders. Byron Laurie's Wild Bill exhibits rare stylized control. Summer Olsson offers warm appeal, her stilt-walking Sheriff Danger sidesplitting. Kate Schroeder is delicious, whether simpering siren or galumphing gunslinger.
The raw-boned designs are impressive, especially Jason Mullen's peyote-toned lighting, and the unpredictable, delightful verve makes "Billy the Kid" the kind of ribald frolic that theater exists for, by jingo.
©2005 L.A. Times
WEST (Critic's Pick!)
This wonderfully quirky show is one of the most delightful, bouncy, and winning 75 minutes spent in theatre this year. The visiting players of the Tricklock Company of New Mexico-just back from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival-bring to the Los Angeles boards their Wild West mini-extravaganza, extolling the career of the young outlaw William Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid. Fairly flying under director-actor Joe Peracchio's crisp staging and creative stylizations, the show runs at breakneck pace without becoming breathless.
Here we have a cornucopia of theatrical styles, including a touch of circus, with acrobatics, trapeze work, and clowning commedia/cowboy style; mystical, magical, melodramatic and farcical goings-on; musical numbers with songs of the old, lonely trails, including a somber "Red River Valley"; and an embellished tale of frontier violence. All this is carefully blended with the stories of Billy's (Kevin R. Elder) love for his mother (Kerry Morrigan) and for his sweetheart Dulcinea del Toboso (Kate Schroeder). There are also hints of surrealism with spooky, Spoon River-esque voices from the beyond. This recounting of the legend is quick to note that Billy was a good kid from New York City who, after going West because of his mom's health, is pushed onto a path that leads to gun slingin' and a reputation as a murderer, ironically turning Billy into a hero to many.
The entire ensemble, which also includes Byron Laurie as Wild Bill and Summer Olsson as Delilah Star, is top of the line. The actors present their work with well-learned craftsmanship, high energy, and a giant helping of charm. The design team hits the bull's-eye every time: Jason Mullen's lighting, Aaron May and Casey Mraz's classy set, Kellie Pederson's costumes, Loren Kahn and Isabelle Kessler's puppet, and props by May, Peracchio, Mraz, and Juli Etheridge. Intrinsic to the whole package is the sound design and original compositions by CK Barlow with fiddle performance by Dair Obenshain and music direction by Morrigan.
The touring New Mexico-based Tricklock Company impressively re-creates the zaniness of the 19th-century music hall revue in their energetic tribute to Wild West bad man William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid (1859-81), who was said to have snuffed out 21 lives by the age of 21. The six-member ensemble stampedes over the historical facts of Bonney's life, but they're zesty storytellers, displaying a well-honed dexterity that includes a generous infusion of farce, melodrama, music, sleight-of-hand magic and circus acrobatics, as well as a tinge of Brechtian epic theater.
Created and helmed by Joe Peracchio, this outlaw saga takes the form of a 19th-century traveling Wild West show, and the players take on many roles. The Tricklock ensemble members seamlessly shift among characters and the myriad forms of performance shtick while hitting the mythological highlights of Bonney's life, from his birth in New York's Irish slums to his well-chronicled death at the hands of Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, N.M.
The biographical sequences are an uneven amalgam of fact and fantasy, highlighted by baby-faced Kevin R. Elder's effective portrayal of Billy, who evolves from innocent babe to psychotic creep over the course of 80 minutes.
The production introduces such real-life characters as Billy's adored mother Katherine (Kerry Morrigan), his early patron John Tunstall (Byron Laurie) and Garrett (Summer Olsson), as well as a menagerie of fictional folk, including all-purpose villain Jack Malone (Peracchio) and comely love interest Dulcinea del Toboso (Kate Schroeder).
Unfortunately, the ensemble eschews chronicling such plot-rich events as Billy's relationship with New Mexico Gov. Lew Wallace (author of "Ben Hur") or his miraculous escape from the Lincoln County jail after he had been condemned to die for murder.
Instead, a good deal of the onstage shenanigans focus on Billy's growing love for murder and mayhem, including one eerie, overly long episode where he competes with a fellow gang member to see who can shoot a crippled old man the most times without actually killing him.
The production also includes recurring surrealistic sequences that resemble macabre versions of the graveyard dialogues of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," in which a slew of buried corpses philosophize over the complex nature of life and death. Although memorable, the portrayals are in jarring contrast to the rest of the proceedings.
The production is at its best when thrusting its comedic irreverence right in the face of the audience. A particular highlight is the audience interactive sleight-of-hand machinations of Peracchio. Also noteworthy are the vocal and acrobatic skills of Morrigan, as well as the infectious, out-of-kilter kookiness of Schroeder.
75 Wild West minutes of
guns and gals, folk songs and two steps, and laughs and killings,
exuberantly capture the story of Billy the Kid, the mythically young and
unstoppable shooter of 21 men or more. The six performers, three men and
three women, have Texas-sized talent, and exuberantly throw themselves
into the characters and the expansive theatricality of the event –
walking on stilts, swinging from a trapeze, performing card tricks. This
show, created in Albuquerque by the Tricklock Company as a group effort,
has toured in evolving forms in cities in North America and Europe,
spending last month in Scotland, before arriving in Los Angeles to run
for ten days. For that period of time, this is the greatest show on
earth in Los Angeles, and you must go to see it.
The story of Billy the Kid is presented through the layer of an Old West
show (Wild Bill Hickok’s) telling the story of Billy the Kid. Hickok’s
show provides a reason to tell the story using circus style and
melodrama. There’s even some interactive theater, with the costumed
actors mingling with the audience as they file into their seats. The
ragtime piano plays throughout – unfortunately, prerecorded.
So who is this Billy the Kid? It seems that the old West stories, now
more than a century old, are slipping out of the cultural vocabulary.
The Western no longer occupies anything near the center of the
entertainment or school worlds. In the 21st Century, how do you regard
killers of lawmen and Native Americans (hey kids, let’s play cowboys
and Native Americans)?
Providing some background, the program primly asserts that Billy was
really a “serial killer” like Charles Manson or Hannibal Lechter.
There’s really no difference between Billy’s exploits and Helter
Skelter and brain with a side of fava beans? This analysis feels as
false as the psychiatrist character in Psycho explaining what we’ve
seen; but Hitchcock meant it as a put-on, showing that the psychiatric
labels in no way elucidate the shower scene or the taxidermied mother.
Fortunately, the show itself skips the analysis and instead recreates
the public’s fascination with Billy the Kid, and the newspapers’
eagerness to fuel that fascination – within that world, Billy’s star
ascends the more he kills.
Like many villains, Billy also gets the audience on his side just
because he’s more interesting than anyone else. Kevin Elder as Billy
winningly portrays the antihero from birth to death, from coward to
killer, from rube to leader, and from awkward boy to sensitive lover –
and it’s love that brings Billy down, giving Sheriff Pat Garret the
chance to shoot Billy in the back and become the villain of the
For a rip roarin’ good time, head on down to Sacred Fools Theater.
©2005 Eye Spy
The Tricklock Company of Albuquerque, New Mexico presents THE GLORIOUS AND BLOODTHIRSTY BILLY THE KID; THE GREATEST SERIAL KILLER OF OUR TIME! A WILD WEST SHOW & CABARET, a retelling of the saga of one of the notorious gunslingers ever to ride the wild west, performs as a visiting theatre company at Hollywood's Sacred Fools Theater.
William Bonny (aka "Billy The Kid") was born in the Yankee city of New York in the Irish ghetto. His mother, suffering from TB, moved from the dirty city to the cleaner south western part of America, where the spaces were bigger, the air cleaner, and the overall area a bit wild and woolly! While living on the range, Billy befriended a neighboring cattle rancher who eventually became his mentor. When the rancher was later gunned down, Billy made sure that the killers got their just desserts. From that point onward, Billy killed, many in cold blood, dozens more before Sheriff Pat Garrett caught up with Billy in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
This production tells the legend of BTK in a rootin' tootin' cabaret type show, complete with musical numbers, card tricks, trapeze acts, and some good ol' fashioned how dowin', presented in the tradition of those wild west shows from not too long ago. The exception is there is no trick riding, fancy gun shooting, or steer raslin'! A team of six players, including (in alphabetical order), Kevin R. Elder, Bryon Laurie, Kerry Morrigan, Summer Olsson, Joe Peracchio, and Kate Schroeder, play numerous roles (including Elder as BTK) in a way that is entertaining and offers plenty of action! Of course, it also debunks the glory of BTK, not presenting him as a hero, but as a heartless murderer that didn't give two hoots on who he shot at! He wasn't called a cold blooded killer for nuthin'!
It's a rather short production clocking in at about 75 minutes, but it's loaded with action and fun! It's quite educational as the 'real' history of the American west, comparing it to the 'reel' history than most are familiar with! It also tries to debunk if BTK was really put to rest by Pat Garrett. Rumors stated that he joined up with Butch Cassidy in South America, or if he later became part of Buffalo Bill's wild west show. Rumors or otherwise, this presentation by the Tricklock Company is indeed a treat to experience. (Note: one longstanding rumor about BTK was the fact that he never wore underwear. This bit of detail is never discussed in this show, and perhaps it's just as well! 'Nuff said!)
Created and directed by Joe Peracchio, and conceived by Chad Brummett, Kevin R. Elder, Bryon Laurie, Elsa Menendez, Kristen de la O, Summer Olsson, and Kate Schroeder, this is a stage play that is worth a looksee! And there's not a buffalo chip in the bunch!
©2005 Accessibly Live Off-Line