Chicago Theatre Review
Scott Oken’s “‘Namosaur!” is exuberant nonsense. It is set in Vietnam in 1968 and follows a group of GIs led by Laura McKenzie’s ass-kicking CIA operative, Weaver, as they search the jungle for an evil genius bent on world domination. Dozens of movies are referenced; Bigfoot is involved, as is an EZ-Bake oven, and at one point there is an attack by several Woody Woodpecker clones. You get the idea.
Every other line feels re-purposed from a movie or TV show and cleverly bent to serve ‘Namosaur!’s giddy circus of a plot. It’s a pop culture mash-up written to amuse all those of us who grew up watching too much TV and re-watching too many movies. The cast energetically mugs to the audience and never lets a joke land un-winked at. Eric Roach as Professor Nguyen Nguyen (pronounced win-win, and constantly milked for eye-rolling laughs) chews all the scenery in sight and spits out his lines in a constantly morphing accent that would be distracting if everything else about the show wasn’t nuclear powered ridiculousness. Its jokes elicit groans as often as laughs, but ‘Namosaur! is so self-aware and referential that it has to be full of bad jokes to be itself. If you’ve ever enjoyed a b-movie, you will have a good time at this show. A couple drinks wouldn’t hurt either.
by Eric Tengler
‘Namosaur! by Scott Oken
Directed by Manny Tamayo
Presented by Factory Theater through August 31st
Factory Theater at the Prop Theater 3502 N Elston Ave
For more information on this and other shows, visit www.theatreinchicago.com