Terminator Too: Judgement Play
BOTTOM LINE: A bitchin’ interactive theatrical experience with a scripted sketch comedy feel where you’ll get soaked by super soakers, see an audience member play “Arnold,” and laugh your ass off.
Let’s take a trip back to the glorious days of 1991 when TV was ruled by American Gladiators and the kids of Bayside High, slap bracelets and Reebok Pumps were all the rage, Crystal Pepsi flowed like wine, and the world was blessed with the cinematic masterpiece that is Terminator 2: Judgement Day. This blockbuster, with a $94 million budget, revolutionized special effects; Terminator Too: Judgement Play recreates the tale for the ages in an interactive theatrical extravaganza, with practically no budget, that is a rollicking good time, a truly unique downtown experience.
I have to admit I had no idea what to expect when I went to see Terminator Too at Santos Party House. My first thoughts were: why am I in Chinatown seeing theatre? And: why are they giving me a plastic poncho to wear? Then I walked into the awesome venue, got a beer, strapped on my poncho, and felt the crazy energy in the room. Terminator Too: Judgement Play is brought to you by the “punk theatre impresario” Thomas Blake, who assembles a small cast of very talented and adept actors, most of whom have extensive improve experience on both coasts, who lovingly recreate James Cameron’s Terminator 2; however, here, the iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger role is cast from the audience and led around the stage with cue cards and some sultry direction by a sexy Latina maid (Yesenia Ayala). The host asks for volunteers, who then give the audience their best Arnold, and a star is born based on the applause of the crowd. I could go into more detail about the plot of the story, but as you probably guessed it follows the 1991 film almost shot for shot, at times with some pretty funny additions and some super soakers along the way.
You will get wet. I repeat: You will get wet. You might even get covered with fake blood. But don’t worry it will wash off. Go expecting this and you will have a great time. The cast soaks you with water guns, squirts tequila in you mouth, splays you with blood, and walks throughout the audience using you as human shields in their quest to save humanity from impending doom. I would say you might not want to plan a fancy night afterwards, but don’t fret: you can go right downstairs and dance the night away with your fellow theatrical comrades in a rockin’ dance party that goes down directly after the show in the downstairs club at Santos Party House.
I had a blast at Terminator Too: Judgement Play. There were some true standouts in the cast who bravely tackle the material with comedic gusto. Joya Mia Italiano is hysterical as the angsty John Conner, and Christi Waldon is fully committed as the badass Sarah Conner who is spot-on Linda Hamilton, folks. Conor Tansey is also pretty brilliant portraying the relentless assassins sent to destroy John Conner. Terminator Too: Judgement Play is not only a loving take on the awesome action flick, it is also a veritable love letter to the film career of Mr. Schwarzenegger and all things pop culture from the early 1990s. It was a rad time to be livin’ in and the folks at Terminator Too bring back some funny memories while still kicking ass and trying to save the world. If you are not afraid to get a little messy, like to drink, want a great night out with a group of friends, have even a small affinity for Arnold Schwarzenegger, and/or like to laugh a lot, you should probably see Terminator Too: Judgement Play.
(Terminator Too: Judgement Play runs through August 11, 2012 at Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette Street. Performances are Saturdays at 8PM. Tickets are $25 and are available at terminatortoo.com or by calling 866.777.8932. NOTE: Wear old/comfortable clothes. Ponchos will be provided at the door to protect you from the "elements" of the show, but the producers cannot guarantee that they will keep you completely dry.)