Theatre Review: Paper Wing Theatre Company Takes on ‘Reservoir Dogs’

Have you been to The Paper Wing Theatre Company in New Monterey? It’s a great “little” theatre right on Lighthouse that has been putting on some great productions recently. Interestingly, director Lewis Rhames decided to take on the daunting task of adapting Quentin Tarantino’s famous script of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and bring it to the stage.

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Upon first hearing that a local theatre company is attempting to bring Tarantino’s first, and arguably best film to theatre, one has his doubts. The original movie’s pace is carried by it’s inventive narrative and impressive acting, so impressive that it’s hard to imagine it could be brought to live theatre. The Paper Wing Theatre Company’s well intentions on not trying to re-create the cult classic but make it their own while holding onto the films roots helped the play stay alive through two exciting acts.

Anyone who has seen the film Reservoir Dogs has probably seen it multiple times. Tarantino’s way of telling a story through flashbacks helps keep the viewer interested and entertained, so much that you have to watch it again to anticipate the pivotal moments. Director and writer of the original stage adaptation Rhames decided to play out the scenes in chronological order, bridged musically by “K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the Seventies”. This helped the audience in attendance to stay more involved with the characters, and understand the entirety of the plot with clarity.

Even though the events are rearranged from the original film, Rhames managed to keep the script and story very similar. Tarantino’s style of neurotic dialogue, violence, and vulgar language flourished throughout the production. The stage design also helped the production in it’s goal to bring this script to life by making effective use of a small space, especially the iconic abandoned warehouse.

The group of guys portraying the “Dogs” were either hit or miss. Some were nearly identical in appearance to the original characters like Jody Gilmore taking on the role of Steve Buschemi’s Mr. Pink, and other’s didn’t give off the feeling that the original movie actors provided. Daniel Kutter who played Freddy/Mr. Orange and Christopher Scott Sullinger who played Nice Guy Eddie had the stand out performances of the night. The chronologically accurate narrative kept Nice Guy Eddie in the play at all the right times, which let Sullinger bring life back to all of the other actors when the energy started to feel depleted.

Rhames did not fade away from the original amount of guns, blood, and torture. Understandably difficult, the pop of the guns startled the entire audience when the time came. All the shooting taking place in the last act didn’t hinder the excitement factor either. The infamous torture scene left cringed faces, and the final shoot-out scene did not disappoint.

To keep with the trend of sucessful adaptations, The Paper Wing Theatre Company begins production of George Orwell’s novel of 1984 on Friday, July 11.

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