By Dave Barton
By LP Hastings
By Sarah Bennett
By LP Hastings
By Jena Ardell
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
By Joel Beers
Pasta With Extra Cheese
The Hunger Artists’ Flying Spaghetti Monster wreaks holiday havoc
Christmastime is here—again—and with it comes the usual rehash of mind-numbing traditional holiday plays filled with annoying, chain-laden ghosts, too many cracking nuts, and religious frivolity that reinforces the expression “holy crap.” Fortunately, it’s also the time when anti-good-cheer theater types lampoon reindeer, Christians, and all things flaky and white.
The Hunger Artists have picked up the holiday-harpooning gauntlet as well, offering their own anarchist recipe: the second installment of their Flying Spaghetti Monster serial, The Holy Mug of Grog, an absurdist parody of high-calorie DaVinci Code and Indiana Jones find-and-seek films, adding a layer of cheesy Caribbean pirates and a dash of Airplane/Soul Plane piloting. It’s stupid, it’s a mess, and sometimes it’s even funny. Hold out your plate.
Unlike a true satire, Grog doesn’t really take Christianity to task (goddamn it!). Instead, there are cartoonish parodies of major biblical plot points. Apparently, thousands of years ago, the Last Midget invited his pals to the Last Barbecue, where they drank some tasty beer from a mug that would eventually become lost in time, just like that pesky Grail. Sure as shit, someone better find that mug of fermented booze before the bad guys do because the finder and drinker of said grog will acquire an eternal buzz and great power, hopefully causing them to preach goodwill and peace to the masses.
But that’s all backstory. Presently, our hero and heroine, Travis and Sylvia—Subway employees who flee the condiment counter when their boss is murdered—set out on a harrowing quest to decipher the clues that will lead them to the excavation of the grog. Along the way, they meet some “pastafarians” (those who worship the spaghetti god), a real-life Super Mario and two saucy pirates (Topher Mauerhan and Amber Scott, who pretty much save the show from entering the missed-comedic-timing seventh level of Dante’s hell). Another boon—or should I say va-va-voom—is the positively molten presence of Stewardess Katie (Kaitlyn Tice), a riotous sex bomb who should really be the focus of pastafarian worship instead of some flying meathead.
While the story never makes any sense and has no discernible through line, during the quest, we’re treated to some lamely amusing Mel Brooks/Neil Simon jokes and other moments that might have scored if the delivery/reaction timing had been tightened. (I saw this on opening night; I’ll assume the actors are currently battening down the hatches.) And just like Scary Movie or The Naked Gun, it helps if you’ve seen some of the films referenced in the jokes, but it’s not imperative.
Imbibing in a bit of grog yourself to fully enjoy the show, however, does seem essential. Mandatory, actually. Then you won’t really care much when you realize that even a buffoonish tale should have some logical A-to-B moments and some seriously witty satire, or that you’ve heard more than 126,000 dick jokes in your lifetime and really have no need for more. (Really.) But despite the potholes, this tale isn’t much wackier than the one about that otherworldly god impregnating a human woman and giving their offspring supernatural powers that allow him to walk across your pool and get you wasted on Sparkletts. That one kills me every time.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster: The Holy Mug of Grog at the Hunger Artists Theatre, 699-A S. State College Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 680-6803; www.hungerartists.com. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; special performance Thurs., Dec. 18 ($5). Through Dec. 21. $15-$18.