CitySearch (New York), Sunday, August 16, 1998

Larry and the Werewolf
LOCATION: Flea Theatre
ADDRESS: 41 White Street
New York , 10013
CROSS STREET: Between Church Street and Broadway.
HOURS: Aug 1-Aug 29 Sat 8:00pm 10:00pm
PRICES: $10.
TICKET INFORMATION: Call (212) 924-0077.

Jim McCauley and Stacey Leigh Ivey in "Larry and the Werewolf."

On an otherwise empty street in Tribeca, the Flea Theatre is quite a scene. The crowd is remarkably young, collegiate almost. Some seemed to be curious passersby, dropping in on the party, sipping their beers and casually striking up conversation. No, it's not the hip theme-lounge du jour. Everyone's here to see the latest installment of "Larry and the Werewolf," the Adobe Theatre Company's serialized camp-thriller-comedy, playing in five episodes through the end of August.

In the first frantic minute, the fifteen cast members act out the major plot points of the previous episode. Last Saturday on "Larry," Dick Piston, private eye, arrived at the Lakeview Hotel to investigate the murder of Herberto Hermosa. The suspect: a werewolf. Bill and Bella Bola, the hotel's thuggish bellhops, threw Hermosa's body out of a window to make it look like a suicide. Piston mistakes a hairy guest for the supernatural criminal and shoots and kills him. Meanwhile, the hotel's lounge act tries to cut a record deal. Then, as this week's episode begins, three centurions enter the stage.


That's typical of the one-hour "episode'' I saw. You're never quite sure what the hell is going on and what it has to do with anything--but it's never important, because plot takes a back seat to the characters' antics. In this case, the centurions turn out to be a flashback. I know that because one of the centurions cries out, "Oh my God! We're in a flashback!'' Never mind that the detective's flashing back to A.D. 12.

Ghosts playing strip poker? A centurion having phone sex on a cellular? And is that the Crunch Fitness bunny? Adobe loves creating characters--foxy lady, ditzy blonde, hapless dick, musclehead--and putting them in preposterous situations. What makes their screwball comedy so enjoyable in this production, as with last year's "Notions in Motion,'' which made it to Off-Broadway, is that it breaks down your defenses: it's self-consciously parodic but sincerely dedicated to its own goofiness.--Albert Lee

Photo: Richey Fahey