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A b-movie live on stage!

September 29, 2013

CaptainDanDixonVSTheMothSlutsFromtheFifthDimension_EXTENDED_855-55I recently had the pleasure of seeing, Captain Dan Dixon VS. The Moth Sluts from the Fifth Dimension, twice. The title alone is an epic recall of all that is great about b-movies. It’s completely over the top, tells you exactly what you’re getting into, yet reveals nothing at all.

Captain Dan Dixon et al… follows the story of Captain Dan Dixon (Matthew Sklar) and his crew aboard the USS Magellan as they test a new starship and propulsion system. While on their test flight they pass through the 5th dimension, and pick up some stowaways, The Moth Sluts! Dr. Canigulus (Jonica Patella) warns the crew not to reveal the nature or location of Earth to their new guests, as well as admonishing them to keep any contact as professional as possible. Unfortunately Dixon and his crew learned interspecies relations from “Captain Kirk’s Guide to the Women of the Universe”. Obviously this will end well.CaptainDanDixonVsTheMothSluts_PHOTO_1

Like so many of the Plays at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, it’s difficult to describe the Play without giving away the entire story. In its own way that is a very good thing. The performances and stories unfold on stage weaving their way into your mind in such a way, you can’t resist talking about the show from open to close in as much detail as possible.

Captain Dan Dixon et al… is a b-movie through and through, I mean that in the best way possible. The adventure starts, something unexpected and possibly good happens, and then it all turns pear shaped. Normally because of a woman. The only difference, Dixon and his crew are live in front of you. Bringing a b-movie to live theater adds a layer of realism you don’t experience watching a movie. You’re in the scenes with them, you’re hoping for the best, and knowing the worst is coming.

CaptainDanDixonVsTheMothSluts_PHOTO_2The performance is all encompassing. The actors are both the background and foreground. When done right, this has the effect of being a Renaissance painting. Each layer can stand alone, and when combined, it becomes so overwhelming, so surreal that no other reality will ever compare. At least during that brief moment when the curtain is up.

The crew of the USS Magellan, is great. Their one liners keep the show flowing from startled moment to laughter. Each one liner is plucked out of a time gone by, but they still makes sense. Chow (David Wyn Harris) the cook, and comic relief is a joy to watch. He has the most one liners in the entire show, and they are all apt. Hashimoto (Vincent Cusimano) the tough experienced officer is the first to fall victim to the wiles of the Moth Sluts. His tragedy serves as the fulcrum upon which the Story rotates, changing pace and direction.

A review about Captain Dan Dixon VS. The Moth Sluts from the Fifth Dimension can’t be written without mentioning the Moth Sluts. Green skinned, and topless (save pasties) vixens with the ability to psychically give pleasure to the point of pain to anyone. Including the cyborg Uranaia (Gloria Baraquio). The Moth Sluts Luna (Corey Zicari), Polyphema (Vivi Varon), Cercopia (Caroline Montes), and Antherea (Courtney Bandeko), make up the chorus line/dancers. Their dance style is straight from the Go-Go era, with all the images and sounds that entails. When not dancing, the Moth Sluts are slowly seducing the entire crew, to great effect. Each Moth Slut has a unique personality, and presence on stage. Each of them took on the task of bringing an alien to life. Make them both relatable, and the monster from our subconscious. In the end it’s the actions of one of the Moth Sluts, Luna, who give away the Achilles heel of the species.

Playing opposite each other as the leader of their respective group are Captain Dan Dixon, and Syphla (Katherine Canipe). Dixon is the standard corn fed American Hero, willing to risk anything and everything in the name of adventure. Syphla a self described girl “from the wrong side of the tracks”, is only looking out for her people as best she can. Through the ever present innuendo “I know when I’m driving on a two way street”, it’s clear Syphla and Dixon have more than a passing attraction. To the point that Syphla resists her nature, and tries not to harm Dixon.

The subplot that runs through all b-movies follows Vickibelle (Heldine Aguiluz), a caterpillar not yet mature, and Virgil (Tyler Koster) the pilot/navigator. Their story appears innocent enough, both have never known love. The end of their story, that’s something you’ll have to see for yourselves.

It should be noted that throughout the extension the Chorus Line had to undergo some substitutions. Lydia Muijen, Rebecca Safier and Donna Noelle Ibale fill in as three of the Moth Sluts. They each bring a different light to their roles. Subtle changes in costume (painted patterns) and movement, allow  these talented actresses to own their respective roles.


Captain Dan Dixon VS. The Moth Sluts from the Fifth Dimension (Written by Matthew Sklar, Directed by Sebastian Munoz) appears at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group.

All Photos Credit: Joe-Munoz-Varon

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