Fans of Point Break(the movie) and oddball irreverence are being given a rare treat at New Rock Theater. I use the term 'fans' loosely, in the way that arts and entertainment can be enjoyed and respected in ways not always intended. Among other things, Point Break Live is just what it's titled – script and scenes taken from the 1991 major motion picture brought to life in front of a live audience. In case you've never seen it, (very basically)Point Break tells the tale of quarterback gone FBI agent Johnny Utah, who must go undercover to bust a gang of surfing bank robbers. Putting on a comedic focus, it turns into a zany production.
To start - arguably the best idea in the show is that Johnny Utah, the main character, is played by a different audience member each night. This idea is at the same time risky and ingenious. Despite whatever experience the Keanu participant might have in acting, he could easily be rendered inept by the cumbersome cue cards, onstage admonishments, and other abuses. Indeed, many of the memorable parts of the evening were when the actors would break character to berate or molest Johnny into an awkward stumble. Here I must add a notable mention of the hyper-impassioned cue-card girl(also playing as the Keanu stunt double) designated to help the Utah deliver, whose outrageous motivation so often provided an excellent counterpart to the superflat Johnny Utah.
The show overall was aggressively engaging, sparing no one from becoming a liquid - or verbal - target. To the relief of most, ponchos are provided from the start. Reliable for most of the show, but don't count on this plastic covering when commences the 50-year storm. The concept of a stage is also repeatedly dismissed through interactive fights, chases, and robberies.
The type of humor used in PBL is best enjoyed with a thorough knowledge(or at least a viewing) of the film beforehand. My experience would not of been nearly as enjoyable had I not watched Point Break during the week I planned on going. While that might make it sound limited to referential/inside humor, it is the loose, spirited mood that makes attendance worthwhile. Shirtless characters doused in bro-love take on a bizarro likability from what they were in the movie. Favorite lines get shouted from the seats. The whole cast seems to be up on having fun, and participates naturally in moments of improvisation between and during scenes. All that and a conveniently located bar offering (reasonably-priced)drinks throughout the show makes this a cool, casual event to check out.
There are still a couple weeks left to catch Point Break Live!. The show will continue to run on Friday and Saturday nights at 10pm through May 7th.
New Rock Theater is located at 3931 N. Elston Ave..
(between Drake Ave & Central Park Ave)
Chicago, IL 60618