REVIEW – The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity – San Jose Stage

There’s a crime occurring in your backyards people. I know no one likes to discuss these kinds of things, however I feel it is my civic duty to bring these types of atrocities to the attention of those best suited to remedy such blatant delinquencies. San Jose Stage’s production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is wicked good. Nay, it is a champion piece of theater. It’s one of the most fun, innovative, unique, clever, well-performed and truly entertaining pieces of theater I’ve seen in a long time, and there are still tickets left. Do you hear me? There are TICKETS LEFT. I know. It’s… embarrassing. So. What are going to do about this, folks? How are we going to come together and FIX this? I’ll tell you how. You are going to buy a ticket. Now. Don’t even stop to read this review, just go get your tickets and go have a great couple hours.

From the second you walk in the door you’re swept into the spectacle that is both great theater and wrestling. Ingenious use of video, brilliant costumes, perfect lighting, just the right amount of mic reverb, handmade signs, swag in the lobby, even the curtain speech and the intermission are used as part of the experience and it really is delightful. The Stage commits to this show 110% and it shows. This commitment pays off by utilizing several theatrical devices that I have too often found tired and ineffective and magically transforming them into great strengths. Like a kick from behind, I was knocked out by the craft and craftiness of this play and its production.

If you’re inclined to absorb the intelligent commentary about an assortment of serious topics that are lightly and cleverly woven throughout, great.  If you want to enjoy this piece on the merit of its face value, you will likely be massively entertained.  It’s fantastically funny, exciting and engaging  and this show can hit you on any level you want it to. You can go deep or you can stay superficial and you can find all manner of levels of satire and politics in between. It is exactly the experience you want to take out of it, no pressure.

The cast is SO endearing, absolute winners in their roles, every one of them. Their athleticism and comic timing deliver delightfully. There are inside jokes and outside jokes and collective gasps at some of the amazingly inappropriate jokes. Plenty of “oh they went there” moments make up this show and you get permission to take the stick outta your you-know-where and are encouraged to laugh from the word go.

This theatrical experience is orchestrated by an adorable and earnest, enthusiastic underdog of a narrator, who I swear everyone just wants to take home with them at the end of the night. He makes everything he does look ridiculously easy. The cast and show shine and it’s these kinds of plays that make me think, boy if you got to do THIS for a living every day, how awesome would that be?!

Oh, did I mention there was a flippin’ WRESTLING RING center stage. Well, I’m mentioning it now. And, it’s used. Well. GENIUS! And, it will have you cheering and booing and taking sides and generally, collectively as an audience having a really good time.  It’s so easy to watch and so easy to like and, yeah wrestling fans will get a little something extra out of it too. Modern, nostalgic, ridiculous, daring, cheesy, refreshing…there are a whole mess of words that can be applied to this show, I’ll spare you the unedited, longer list.

I’d be a horrible, horrible person if I didn’t also at least mention that the stellar physiques of our wrestler/actors were not a totally horrible perk. Rarely is it justified to do a show where most of the cast is shirtless and running around in Speedos/Spandex and rarely is that every actually a good thing. It’s a good thing. There. I said it. And, I’ve probably said too much. But, what’s new, right?

I don’t see shows a second time, I’m more than considering trying to check this one out again. I’m hoping to see a full crowd next time should I get a chance to attend the bonus round. SAY IT WITH ME! 5 out of 5 glorious, shining kick ass, blingiest of bling jewels in the review tiara for a show that is as layered and meaningful as it is silly and just plain awesome. The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity plays through November 10th in San Jose.

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