This is good one.
If you are a fan of the Gaslight Theatre's singular brand of silly, you'll really enjoy their current offering, Ghostblasters.
Quick: tell me the name of the movie that the Gaslight crew has bent to its grandly goofy and gloriously rowdy will. If you didn't say Ghostbusters, there's something seriously wrong with you. Seriously.
Ivan Reitman's 1984 hit starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis has entertained millions, and is just the type of story that the Gaslight guys, especially playwright Peter Van Slyke, can run with. The movie's high-tech doo-dads developed for dissolving problem ghosts provides plenty of opportunities for the Gaslight's designers to riff on their own creation of low-tech high-tech props and effects, which are both imaginative and laughable. Which is exactly what we love about the Gaslight. High art? Not on your life. Energy, talent, skill and creativity in spades—oh yeah.
Do I need to give you a plot summary? OK, a brief one. There are good guys, in this case portrayed by Jake Chapman and Mike Yarema, challenged by a bad guy or two (David Orley)who want to take over The World. (What exactly that particular world might be varies from show to show, but from the costume on Orley when he assumes this power, it seems that this "The World" extends into the past.)
There are also usually some just plain ridiculous bad guys, not evil as much as arrogant and bizarrely costumed (Todd Thompson TODD THOMPSON, in this case). Here, there's also a very gelatinous green blob, aptly called Slobber (Charlie Hall) whose chief offense is, well, his slobber, which I think has something to do with negative ectoplasm which is not a good thing. Actually, this story gets a little more complicated than most Gaslight tales, but that's OK. It's not annoyingly confusing or anything. And really, between the singing and dancing (there's a great group number of "I Can't Live Without You" with canes and, well, you imagine the top hats, but it's hilarious), there's no need to think too much. In fact, that sort of thing is discouraged. I'm not going to give away the ending (wink, wink), but I think you'll be pleased.
We naturally notice the funny folks on stage, but, really, in every aspect of production there are impressive creative minds at work. Tom Benson's sets and scenic painting are fabulous; Katherine Byrnes' choreography is perfect for the folks she's working with; and Renee Clouthier's costumes are always a treat. Even the in-theater experience is run smoothly, with a fun ambience in the theater itself, terrific servers—even the food is far from merely adequate.
And the music? It's really the music that holds a Gaslight show together, propels its momentum and generally provides a depth (that's right, I used the word "depth" and "Gaslight" in the same sentence) to the entertainment experience.
The music flows—quite literally—from musical director Linda Ackermann, who arranges the songs, plays the piano and creates sound effects on a synthesizer, and whips those actors into great singing shape. She also has a great band, featuring Mitzi Cowell on bass and Jon Westfall on drums. They all get after it, and for this show, Ackermann's showmanship sizzles. Brava!
Those who know what I'm talking about, come on down. Those who need to stop taking themselves so seriously and just experience a little well done fun, live on the wild side for an evening. Ghostblasters is a—well, you know, blast.