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« Paranormal Activity 4, Smashed & Easy Money Review: The Joffrey Ballet's Human Landscapes at the Auditorium Theatre »

Theater Fri Oct 19 2012

Strawdog's Pontypool Delivers Quick-Paced Frights Just in Time for Halloween

Strawdog Pontypool (L to R) Carmine Grisolia (Doctore Mendez), Jamie Vann (Mazzy), Nikki Klix (Laurel Ann) and Elizabeth Dowling (Sydney Briar) 4 Photo by Tom McGrath.jpeg

(L to R) Carmine Grisolia (Doctore Mendez), Jamie Vann (Mazzy), Nikki Klix (Laurel Ann) and Elizabeth Dowling (Sydney Briar). Photo by Tom McGrath.

Eat your radio. And your TV. And your iPod, and any other noisemaker, always on, even when off; delivering words and words and words - "no dead air" is the FCC golden rule. Every nonsensical, meaningless non-event has to have meaning because the talking heads have to have something to talk about. It's a 24-hour news cycle that keeps us current, and according to writer Tony Burgess, the perpetual cycle of words and non-stop chatter and opinion and updates will deliver our apocalypse. Who knew that Talk Radio could be so toxic? (Yeah, I know. Anyone who's ever made the drive from Chicago through downstate Illinois with nothing but the AM dial to keep 'em from veering off and driving into a cornfield).

Our story opens in a crook-in-the-wall radio station in the town of Pontypool, IL. Formerly used-to-be-big jock Grant Mazzy (Jamie Vann) is in forced exile, toiling the airways of 660 on the AM dial, wondering aloud but not caring of where missing cat Honey, reporting the town drunks, and extrapolating traffic reports from the unseen 'copter reporter Ken Loney (Michael Dailey) - his 'copter being a Dodge Dart and his sky coverage a hilltop he sits on with a pair of binoculars. Just when his day can't get any lousier, Mazzy is asked by his impatient producer Sydney Briar (Elizabeth Dowling) to cover the mid-morning DJ's shift.

Soon in to the broadcast, Ken comes in with "breaking news" - there's a riot at the office of Dr. Mendez (Carmine Grisolia) - hundreds of people attacking, reports of casualties; Ken must get to cover. The ensuing chaos outside makes its way inside the radio station when station assistant Laurel Ann (Morgan Gire) transforms into a frightful being, and the arrival of Dr. Mendez. A man of science, Dr. Mendez racks his brain in an effort to find out why the good people of Pontypool are rioting, killing, and even reports of rioters speaking in indecipherable dialect and literally eating their electronic devices. The doctor finds the cause and effect for Pontypool turning upside down, but the crisis is a one-way street, and there's no turning back for Pontypool, and the rest of the now-infected world; and when there are no more words to sooth and entertain the listening audience, there's 'the Muzak version of 'Call Me Maybe' to hum along with.

Pontypool is fast-pace hour of delightful fright for grownups. There's only a bit of blood, violence, and carnal cursing, but you may jump out of your seat anyway.

Pontypool, presented by the Strawdog Theater Company, runs through November 4 with a special production on Halloween. Tickets and more information here.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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