"Welcome to the Monkey House

ShadowApe Theatre Company

Indiana Repertory Theatre

Through Aug. 19

Almost exactly three years after its premiere, ShadowApe Theatre Company is reprising its Kurt Vonnegut medley, Welcome to the Monkey House as part of The Year of Vonnegut, this time at the Indiana Repertory Theatre.

When it was first performed in August 2004, I noted that Vonnegut and ShadowApe make a good pairing. The statement remains true, as Vonnegut and the Apes both have a reputation for the unusual and the otherworldly. ShadowApe takes Vonnegut’s written ideas and gives them an almost supernatural presentation in typical Ape fashion, including lush lighting, meticulous and intricate blocking and body movement and sound effects.

The show is an amalgamation of eight Vonnegut stories that are presented in small portions non-linearly — stories are divided into 10 or 15 minute increments. One will start and then the show segues into another story, and another, etc., eventually coming back to complete each one. The concept is neat, if a little confusing at first. The hour and a half show could use an intermission, if only to take a break from digesting so much information.

Changes have been made from the original show, but after three years nothing stood out in particular for me. However, the same exquisite acting that marks every ShadowApe show was still evident.

The lack of any directing credits or cast list in the program emphasizes ShadowApe’s emphasis on group collaboration, a method that has continued to provide fascinating productions.

Welcome to the Monkey House continues through Aug. 19 on the IRT’s Upperstage. Tickets are $25. Call the IRT, 140 W. Washington, at 317-635-5252 for reservations.

Dos Fallopia: Desperate Spuddwives

Phoenix Theatre

Through Aug. 26

Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt are not strangers to Indianapolis. The duo, known as Dos Fallopia, is performing their outrageous Desperate Spuddwives show at the Phoenix Theatre.

Act 1 is made up of five skits — “Heartwood Mac,” “Barrista Boot Camp,” “The Slam Poet,” “Middle-Aged Woman” and “Are You Smarter Than the President” — while Act 2 is devoted to the parody of Desperate Housewives. The comedy is hit and miss, but the good parts make up for the jokes that flop.

Koch nails the vocals in the “Heartwood Mac” segment, which includes an ode to La-Z-Boy recliners, and Platt recites a poem in “The Slam Poet” entitled “Global Warming” consisting of two words: “IT’S HOT.” The game show “Are You Smarter Than the President” is a bit long, but watching audience members take Nerf shots at Scot Greenwell as Hilary Clinton, Platt as Dick Cheney and Koch as George Bush was great, and the administration bashing was even better.

Everyone gets to play multiple characters in Desperate Spuddwives. Greenwell looks way too pretty in drag while Kevin D. Smith, at the keyboard for most of the show, displays more than we ever wanted to see in his pink number. The mother and daughter musical duo the Spudds are Webcasting from their new triple-wide on Hysteria Lane, and someone is killing off all the neighbors.

The show is fast-paced, potentially offensive, sometimes raunchy and extraordinarily funny. Greenwell steals every scene he is in, but each performer has his or her moment.

Dos Fallopia’s Desperate Spuddwives continues at the Phoenix Theatre, 749 N. Park Ave., through Aug. 26. Tickets are $29, $15 for those 24 and under. Call 317-635-PLAY for reservations.



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