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Dancefcking Mijo: a review of Bootown’s latest show

Submitted by Alex_Wukman on March 13, 2012 – 7:00 amNo Comment
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By Alex Wukman

When the Bootown crew decided to give their Benshi inspired treatment to the Patrick Swayze classic Roadhouse it seemed like it shouldn’t work. After all, Roadhouse is a beloved part of the 1980’s canon-right up there with The Terminator, Red Dawn and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogalo. For anyone not familiar with Benshi, or those too lazy to click the link, when silent films first came to Japan they were accompanied by a live narrator who-drawing on the Kabuki and Noh tradition-would act out the film by playing characters and relating the film to the audience. In some cases the benshi would provide a different, or abbreviated, plot than the one in the film. It’s this tradition of treating film as an interactive, instead of passive, medium that Bootown draws on with Mijo: A Roundhouse Goodtime.

Helmed by Bootown’s Assistant Artistic Director Lindsay Burleson Mijo cuts Roadhouse’s running time from 114 minutes down to just an hour, a decision that surprisingly tightens up the film without losing too much of the plot, and provides a group of four actors to reinterpret the dialogue. Despite the fun and frivolity that Mijo offers there were a few problems, the main one being that the loose script-held together by the entertaining performances of Blake Whitaker, Emily Hynds, Joe Wozny and the musical stylings of Grandfather Child’s Lucas Gorham-feels like a second or third draft of a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode with some of the jokes killing and some bombing. Another problem is that for anyone unfamiliar with the benshi tradition the performance of Mijo can come across as a derivative take on the granddaddy on American interactive film-Rocky Horror Picture Show. And Bootown admits to the similarities, going so far as to have members of the Houston Rocky Horror community come to Rudyards for a shadow cast performance. At times Mijo has the feeling of a show being put on by a group of talented college students, and if it was being performed on a Thursday night in San Marcos it would be the biggest thing in town.

Mijo is being performed Friday, March 16 at Rudyards, 2010 Waugh. Show times are 10 p.m. and midnight. For more information go to Bootown’s website.

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