For those who say that skydiving and surfing can’t be portrayed on a small stage, or that the acting talents of Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze could never be adequately recaptured, “Point Break Live!” has arrived to prove them wrong. A parody/celebration of the 1992 action film, this show glories in cheesy dialogue and silliness, from a gunshot victim who simply refuses to die to a monsoon re-created by the cast spraying the audience with squirt guns. Jaime Keeling and Jamie Hook’s creation is an inspired, albeit uneven, goof, and those open to a raucously untraditional theatrical experience should find it entertaining.
Ex-football star Johnny Utah is now an FBI agent. Supervised by the veteran agent Angelo Pappas (George Spielvogel), Johnny is supposed to investigate a group of bank robbers who wear masks of former president while they commit their crimes. It turns out the crooks are surfers, so Johnny has to infiltrate the gang by becoming one. He learns his skills via tough surfer chick Tyler (Jennifer Jean), and is eventually noticed and accepted by the philosophy-spouting gang leader, Bodhi Sattva (Tobias Jelinek). As time goes by, the two men warily begin to admire each other, which makes the prospect of killing each other more difficult than they might have expected.
The best idea in this show is that the Keanu Reeves role, Johnny, is cast from the audience at every show, in an effort to reproduce Reeves’ peculiar opaqueness. The chosen actor is provided all of his or her lines via cue cards held by the P.A. (Christi Waldron), which keeps things amusingly in-the-moment and unstudied. Waldron’s frequent asides to Johnny are funny and lively, and her slow-motion fight with Bodhi is a highlight.
Spielvogel is appropriately over-the-top as the hyper Pappas, his over-powdered white hair providing regular small sprays of powder into the air to punctuate his perf. Jean is tartly terrific as Tyler, highlighting the arch nature of the dialogue, and Thomas Blake is hilarious as Bodhi follower Roach, serving up a delicious plate of acting ham. Finally, Jelinek brings the correct sense of bogus gravitas to Bodhi, a pompous seriousness that only serves to heighten the lunacy around him.
The direction, credited to Spielvogel, Blake and Eve Hars, is frequently clever. Surfing is depicted by a guy skateboarding in front of the audience with a cardboard wave following him, skydiving has two actors held in the air by harnesses and blown by a big fan, and a chase sequence goes outside the theatrical space into the streets outside, captured live on a monitor for the audience to watch. “Survival kits,” which include a plastic poncho, are sold onsite for a dollar, and are necessary, unless one wants to emerge from the Dragonfly club soaking wet.