‘Crude’ – Mötley Crüe with a PG Rating

By Ernest KearneyDoctor Zomba’s Ghost Show, David Lucarelli’s loopy homage to late night television horror hosts, was plainly rooted in his appreciation for the hi-jinks of Jeepers Creepers, Elvira and others.

Lucarelli reveals himself as a dedicated “Metalhead” with his new production, Crude. He was legally coerced into employing the surrogate title Crude after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer representing the individuals whose story he intended to tell. Though a compulsory proxy, the title is still somewhat fitting for the play’s actual subject, Mötley Crüe.

The mere mention of LA’s seminal “world’s most notorious” heavy metal band instantly conjures up headbanging images of $1,000 a day heroin habits, cascading women, destroyed hotel rooms, sex tapes, drunken studio sessions, car wrecks, assaults, over doses, bar brawls and raging performances that would sell over a hundred million albums.

Lucarelli manages to include most of the aforementioned aspects in his play, but unfortunately he has chosen to confine all these highly dramatic incidents within a narrative structure that works to defuse and dilute them to the extreme.

Choosing to tell the Mötley Crüe story in short scenes, could have succeeded if Lucarelli had approached their unfolding with a rapidness similar to the band’s amphetamine fueled music.

However, Lucarelli’s decision to have each scene introduced by a masked “Spirit of Metal” major domo, hamstrings the pacing to a deadly limp and the continual use of this episodic device subjects his audience to repeated dead space on stage and a numbing barrage of recurring blackouts.

Among the shuffling of short-short scenes, a few longer ones actually begin to draw in the audience, but each of these is immediately stunted by a series of acutely truncated scenes that drop like a chorus line of guillotine blades.

There is probably an interesting play within Crude, but it simply can’t escape the straitjacketing in which Lucarelli has imprisoned it.

* * *


Aug. 21, 22, and 23rd
onstage at

The Flight Theater @The Complex Hollywood
6476 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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