CRAZY DOG AUDIO THEATRE PRESENTS
TREAD SOFTLY, BILL LIZARD
Written, directed and acted by Roger Gregg
"Dying is easy, comedy is hard." One of the most over-worked genres in modern audio theatre is the unstructured, madcap farce. There is something about it that makes producers want to prove they heard the Firesign Theatre at a very impressionable age. Or, perhaps, "The Adventures of Jack Flanders."
Everybody listens but it is the rare practitioner who shows they actually learned something.
I don't know if Roger Gregg is familiar with the work of David Ossman, Phil Proctor and their partners or Tom Lopez but his work belongs on the same shelf. "Tread Softly, Bill Lizard" is the sequel to "Time Out for Bill Lizard," Gregg's delightful one-man show of several years ago. "Tread Softly" continues the misadventure of the pi with the magnificently unfortunate last name as he tries to get back to his own dimension.
The writing is clever and the new actors Gregg has added are excellent but it is the world he creates that lifts "Tread Softly" above the crowd.
The Crazy Dog Audio Theatre is based in Ireland and the world Gregg creates is a Lewis Carroll crazy quilt of Irish clichés turned on their heads and spinning merrily. Bill Lizard falls in a Wonderland created for every tourist who ever went to Ireland demanding an Irish Spring commercial. It's a theme park designed by people who really don't like their customers. Bill travels with a Pooka, a six foot rabbit who is embarrassingly visible and runs into frantic Little People, citizens so "Irish" you can't understand a word they're saying, two deranged refugees from "The Importance of Being Earnest," and, just for variety's sake, a crowd of pro-union Flying Monkeys from "The Wizard of Oz." And we haven't even mentioned the free-range train or the man in the scuba gear.
Gregg and his company not only establish a crazed alternate reality, but they keep up the pace through six half hour episodes. Bill Lizard deserves a seat at the table with George Tirebiter and Jack Flanders.
Now, if we could just eavesdrop on their conversation.|
Just got Roger Gregg's new CD, a double CD entitled "Tread Softly, Bill
At the expense of sounding like an ad, left me just say that I was blown away. Some of you may ahve heard the last CD coming from this American ex-pat living in Ireland, "Time Out for Bill Lizard". It was a fun "Firesign meets Alice in Wonderland" in modern Euro-Radio feel. Roger wrote it and produced it out of his bed-room on a computer. It was certainly on a par with most of what we're doing over here in America. Talented, energetic amateurs that we are. 'Course, it helps that Roger does voice-overs for a living, so when he performed all the hundreds of voices on that CD, it didn't sound like Mr. Microphone Night at the Slumber Party.
But things have changed on the new CD. First off, there are several actors on this new one, and they are exceedly funny, nicely detailed performances. The music, one of the highlights of the last one, continues to shine with a sort of Ghost of Frank Zappa forced to play in a Lounge in Hell for Eternity kinda vibe, but very, very fun.
Then there's the writing. Buy it for the writing. Roger's taken it to the next level, making this easily the best comedy audio theater piece I have heard in the last two years. Five episodes on two CD's. Sure, the rampant silliness is back from the first CD, but Roger has developed a much more scathing wit to slide in amongst the silly things. Sort of like Lewis Carroll and Jonathon Swift collaborating on a musical. And many, many pop culture references which, are great fun, like watching for the next celebtrity cameo in a Woody Allen movie.
The story involves Bill being dropped in another dimension and trying to get back on his Train of Thought, where he left the cell phone which can return him to . . . well, you can see its hard to encapsle in a short, sawning review. Suffice to say, there is a very tall anthropomorphic rabbit, who is actually a Pooka who isn't invisible in this dimension and must make a living posing for tourists. Which reminds me, there is a great amount of humor based on the ambivelence the Irish feel about American -Irish tourists descending on them and demanding to know where the Little People are.
Well, enough huzzah-ing,
Roger Gregg's double CD, "Tread Softly, Bill Lizzard". Cutting edge comedy radio theater, buy it from Lodestone or where-ever, tell your friends - you heard it from me, Roger's raised the bar for all of us here in radio theaterland.
TIME OUT FOR BILL LIZARD
|I'm not certain that one guy should have this much fun by himself.
While I'm not usually a big fan of slapstick comedy, this is tooo much fun.
Take Jack Flanders running double speed, drop him into the Hitchhikers Guide world and hold on tight.
But then Roger Gregg is is an American playwright, musician and voice over artist based in Ireland for the past 18 years.
Winner of the 1999 Silver Mark Time Award.
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