by Ed Malin · November 23, 2014
You should really take a hilarious road trip with Wide Eyed Productions. You know you want to. Dead Special Crabs by Daniel Kitrosser, directed by Kristin Skye Hoffmann, is a nuanced journey between various crab-famous places from Maine to Florida. Blink at any time throughout and you will miss something really funny.
Up in Maine, Aunt Missy (Ellen David) has spent most of her life crabbing. She has raised two children: Amy, who has moved to Florida and is getting married, and young Loomer (Nic Marrone). Loomer is driving down to that wedding with his friend June (Samantha Cooper). Loomer has a charmingly naïve way of telling us he “only recently became a homosexual”. There are two main topics of conversation on the long drive: the I-95 serial killer and Loomer’s unrequited love for ultrasensitive poet Virgil (Craig Carere). Naturally, Loomer and June take advantage of the drive to do a drive-by Virgil’s ongoing poetry tour. For this, Hoboken, NJ is an unmissable destination. (It helps the dialogue that while Loomer and June are talking in the car, the radio is playing mime a capella.)
Aunt Missy is following Loomer down the road. There has been a mixup with some people from the family’s past: Kathy (Amy Lee Pearsall) and her husband Walter (Andrew Harris), who both wear convenient yellow jumpsuits emblazoned with their names (just one gift of costume designer Elivia Bovenzi). The report of their deaths has been greatly exaggerated, however, and so when June falls prey to the I-95 serial killer, Loomer gets a ride from Walter down to Virgil’s next poetry haunt: Baltimore. We’re somewhere around intermission now and it just keeps getting better in ways I should not reveal. You probably can't wait to find out what the title means. Suffice it to say, Hoboken and Baltimore share an Edgar Allan Poe connection, and some brilliant farce ensues. And this with Aunt Missy, Kathy, and the ever-helpful Detective Barney Horntub (Lee Seymour) following on a theatrically-correct motorcycle.
If you were ever wondering why Wide Eyed Productions is an enduring, innovative theater company, this show will give you 2 ½ hours of sustained entertainment. Some of your questions will be answered with questions. Bravo for the actors and the team that made this feat possible. Joshua Rose’s set makes so many things happen, like crabbing and several chases through multi-level buildings. Cate DiGirolamo’s lighting brings suspense as well as a spiritual dimension to the play, while J. Alexander Diaz’s sound is de rigeur for serial killing.