IMPORTANT NOTE: We cannot certify this reviewer attended a performances of this show because no ticket was purchased through this website or the producer has not verified they attended.
My overall impression
My initial reaction upon seeing the postcard was “That’s a great postcard. I hope the show is as compelling as this image.”
What I love about this show is its fearlessness in portraying two big names from American culture. The Gangbusters know that if you do a little digging, you break through the happy-dumb cartoon versions of history we learn in American schools and television to discover that not only were these people human beings with all kinds of weird quirks and behaviors, but extraordinary in ways they don’t get credit for. Not satisfied with trotting out the personified punchlines of forty years of jokes and rumors, it feels like Christian Levatino did his research and came up with compelling truths upon which he could then riff freely. It’s the kind of theater that makes you want to go read a book.
And then there’s Levatino’s Elvis.
Elvis went to see Nixon, The President of the United States, to ask for a title, a badge, so he could help cure the drug problem. That’s true. He did that. Is that audacious? Is that crazy? Is that a man who just wakes up one day and says “Today I’m gonna fight crime for the government, baby”? Yes to all the above. And as funny and interesting as this piece is, I left with a sense that Elvis was a real force of nature, a crazy man of vision who, in his pill-dazed, boyish way, just wanted to do good. Watching him try to do that in the face of all his paranoia, immaturity, and addiction makes for a really enjoyable hour.
This is my first Gangbusters show and I can not think of a more apt title for this crew of monsters. They tear the place apart with humor, ferocity, and dead on timing. Just a great piece of work delivered by a rock solid cast.