Monday, June 3, 2013
Some Fringe shows offer incredible drama, uncovering personal insights, while others are just plain silly. Chocolate Thunder and White Lightning fell under the second classification. It was a blaxploitation written by a white guy, Al Pergande. The play was performed in the Orange venue in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center.
Valensky Sylvain starred as the flashy Chocolate Thunder. He wore a loud yellow feathery hat and a long pink boa. Jackie Pitts played his new partner in crime, White Lightning. She played her part with a British accent and innocent wit. The premise was that Chocolate Thunder was an old school cop whereas White Lightning was tech savvy. Eric Branch played an over the top villain always petting a stuffed penguin. I felt bad that his silly antics got no response from the audience.
The Expositionettes filled in the gaps between scenes with song. There were gaps everywhere. This production reminded me of plays I had seen at "Play in a Day" in which everything had to be thrown together in 24 hours. There were awkward moments where actors forgot their lines and everyone stood still, wondering what they should do next.
Granted the show was a hot mess, but I was still rooting for the local talent to push through and make the show work. If the show was just a touch worse, it could have classified as a campy cult classic, but, no it struggled short of that mark. There were a few loud laughs from the audience, but the long interludes of silence hinted that all too often the humor missed the mark.