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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 17, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 20x
'Tales From the Pants' - Captain Smartypants spoofs campy horror stories
Arts & Entertainment
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'Tales From the Pants' - Captain Smartypants spoofs campy horror stories

by David Caldwell - Special to the SGN

CAPTAIN SMARTYPANTS
ERICKSON THEATRE
May 24 - June 1


A quick Google search for 'Captain Smartypants Seattle' yields a thought-provoking array of comments about this nine-man comedic ensemble of the Seattle Men's Chorus.

'Talented, funny homosexuals,' writes Daisy B. on Yelp. 'Hilariously bizarre,' says The Islands' Sounder.

And then there is the Goldstar.com member who opines, 'I felt offended when they had a 'cat' squirting its milk all over the stage.' Despite this, the reviewer still awarded the show four out of five gold stars.

The truth is you never know quite what to expect when you come to a Captain Smartypants performance. But if you attend the upcoming show, 'Tales From the Pants,' you are guaranteed to laugh, scream, squirm, and even find yourself asking 'what the #%*@^&! was that?'

'The title is taken from Tales From the Crypt, which was an EC Comics title published in the early 1950s,' says Eric Lane Barnes, assistant artistic director of Flying House Productions and director of Captain Smartypants. 'They were lurid, gory stories of ghosts, zombies, vampires, monsters, witchcraft - you name it. Since the comics were aimed at high-school kids, many of the stories centered around themes like proms, dates, and parental issues.'

Captain Smartypants draws from this rich tradition of ghost stories, urban legends, gothic novels, and horror comics. Some tales are hilarious, some touching, some startling, some downright slapstick. But they all have Captain Smartypants' unforgettable trademark stamp.

A MUSICAL PASTICHE
'Tales From the Pants' marks the 12th Captain Smartypants production. The musical numbers, all of which were written by Barnes, comprise a broad range of styles. There is a Ray Charles-type blues number, a nod to 'Mr. Sandman,' a disco/horror movie mash-up, a 1980s power ballad, a traditional Mexican folk song, and a techno version of a Baroque song. The second act is all 1960s-style music - some doo-wop, some syrupy ballad, some sock-hop, and even a touch of Latin flavor.

'When you have actual life-and-death situations on stage, the stakes, as they say, are high. It keeps the audience engaged, and it keeps them guessing. It's a lot more interesting to have the main crisis be 'Will he live or not?' rather than 'Will he get the girl or not?' adds Barnes.

See 'Tales from the Pants' at the Erickson Theatre (1524 Harvard Ave.) on two consecutive weekends, May 24-25 and May 31-June 1. Friday performances begin at 8 p.m., and Saturdays feature two shows, at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $25 at www.flyinghouse.org or (206) 388-1400 (noon-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.). Please note that this production is for mature audiences only, although it features no lactating felines.

David Caldwell is a member of Captain Smartypants.

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