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Viva Los Alamos ... in 3-D

Reviewed by Victor Gluck

Presented by Sensurround Stagings at the Present Company Theatorium, 196-198 Stanton St., NYC, Aug. 16-27.

Writer/director Mike Katinsky had a clever idea in "Viva Los 3-D," the Lost Elvis Movie, a theatrical parody purporting to be a previously unreleased film starring the late great king of rock and roll. Unfortunately, parody must be sharp and pointed. "Viva Los Alamos" was mild and flabby.

Narrated by John Gregorio as one of those television hosts of a weekly film series, "Viva Los Alamos" included

3-D glasses (which didn't do much), alternate versions of the same scenes, scenes dubbed in foreign languages, and audience participation.

The original score with lyrics by Katinsky, and music and additional lyrics by Deirdre Broderick, included songs like "Treat Me Like Dirt" (remember Elvis' "Treat Me Nice") and "My Own Way" (instead of "On My Own"). The script included references to Elvis' films, from "Viva Las Vegas" to "Roustabout" and "Spinout." The plot, however, petered out about halfway through.

Part of the problem was that Michael A. Schneider as "Dex," who had acquired all of Elvis' acting mannerisms, did not have a big enough voice, nor did he have Elvis' trademark guitar to accompany his singing. The orchestrations, played by a five-piece band under the expert musical direction of Peter Hauenstein, never suggested Elvis' style. Hope Mirlis' choreography was never more than mediocre.

Best was Jil Perry as blonde Officer Cindy Ventura, who had the big voice necessary for "I Only Want You For Your Mind." Aileen Loy tried too hard in the other female role. Bernard Clark was a believable heavy as both the U.S. Colonel and Papa Illya. Matthew Myers added some comedy as nerdy Dr. Jake. Jimmy Hilburn, as Young Illya, was part of a spy plot that was dropped about halfway through the show. Liz Faughnan's costumes never suggested either the lavishness or modishness of Elvis' Hollywood films.

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