Blood! Guts! Kung-F-U! A beating heart ripped right out of a guy’s chest! And…err…umm…a ticket ripper at a theater?
Unlikely combo, but playwright John Morogiello successfully combines comedic violence with the daily going-ons of a theatre, and produces a hilariously entertaining story of an underappreciated ticket ripper.
Our protagonist, Jack, the ticket ripper, finds himself on the brink of unemployment (ha), and decides to take matters into his own hands to prevent an end to his 25-year run at the theatre. Brimming with repressed angst, Jack lashes out at the House Manger, slicing him with a severed ticket, which kills the Manager and launches the audience into a witty, yet gruesome, journey.
Jack, played by Jim Gagne, is exploding with energy in every turn, his eyes vividly portraying the electricity of a recent bout of psychosis. His cackle brings comedy to the crowd, and overall, Gagne successfully carries the show; he is engaging in every minute of stage time. Joining Jack is Julie (Charlene V. Smith), a naïve and eager-to-please volunteer usher, secretly pining for Jack. Julie is a recent college grad who studied playwriting – as she constantly reminds any one who will listen – and she hopes that her volunteer position will somehow lead to writing success. Jack convinces Julie to become his partner in crime – not a difficult task considering the girl is in love with him – and we are thus blessed with watching Julie’s bizarre quirks come out as she follows the man she loves on a killing rampage.
Smith and Gagne make a side-splitting team; Smith portrays a convincing innocence in Julie, which is foiled by her later-revealed bizarre sexual fetishes (she gets hot for Jack after he kills a couple more people). Julie also shares her heart with the audience members, who are left catching their breath from laughter as she sings a song about Jack (“He Slays Me”) complete with feather boa and over-exaggerated Broadway vibrato.
Smith and Gagne flawlessly propel the play with seamless momentum, making the fast-paced performance seem half as long as it truly is. Quick and dirty, Jack, The Ticket Ripper produces laughs with ease, combining farcical elements of horror films and theatre management. Anyone who’s ever had psychotic thoughts during a shift at a less-than-glamorous job (come on now, that’s everybody), should exorcise his anger by seeing Jack, The Ticket Ripper.
Jack, The Ticket Ripper
By John Morogiello
Produced by the Georgetown Theatre Company
Reviewed byCaitlin DeMerlis