The Beach Bulletin, August 17, 2001

Good Prague-nosis for 'Dick Piston'

Beach Bulletin Editor

Theatre Conspiracy cuts loose with "The Further Adventures of Dick Piston, Hotel Detective: Prague-nosis," by Jeff Goode. The comedy whodunnit chronicles the robbery of a famous diamond necklace, called "My Virginity," part of the Czech crown jewels. My Virginity was given as a gift to alleged porn star, Pleasure Hello. Lisa Marie flawlessly plays up the man-crazy Hello, giving new meaning to "bodice ripper," as she can barely seem to keep her blouse on. During her stay at the Lakeview Hotel, the necklace is stolen, spinning off a series of rib-cracking encounters with other characters.

Double meanings and sexual innuendos fly, as do accusations of "Who stole My Virginity?" Enter Dick Piston, hotel detective. Bill Taylor breathes Humphrey Bogart, right down to the trenchcoat and hat pulled low over his eyes. Through nine 10-minute episodes, Piston investigates a highly suspicous crew of hotel guests, interrogating stunning blonde Misha Novakova, international jewel thief (Beth Ellege), crafty Zing the Amazing (Rob Ervin), and "bottomless, like a cup of coffee, or a topless dancer" Havel Presley (Clement Valentine).

"Killer curves ahead" could describe the deceptive dames in this spy game spoof, for the jolting plot plunges, as the actors swap roles and levels of guilt. From one episode to the next, you are kept in stitches by the antics of this lively, talented bunch, while grappling with the jackknife turns in the storyline. There's no butlers handy to solve this crime, only more questions and implausible scenarios. All of the actor's performances are so over-the-top, and bitingly dead pan, it is hard to keep a straight face.

This is the play to see if you crave surprises, originality, and superb acting. Without giving away the ending, which is a stunner, you will crack up as Piston has a shootout with Zing the Amazing using a pickle, or Piston's destiny with a "post-hypnotic suggestion." The phony sponsor announcements before the play and during the intermission will make you howl and blush. Don't miss this gem!