RESERVOIR DOGS "LIVE" by Quentin Tarantino, adapted and directed by John Christian Quinn, with Quinn, David MacKay, Jack Grinhaus, Drew Coombs, Tim Furlong, Jason Squires, Irving Broughton and Mark Walker. Presented by Johnny Q Productions at 376 Dufferin. Runs to October 4, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm. $20. 416-683-0270. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Watching reservoir dogs "live" brings to mind those silly musical tributes to Patsy, Elvis and other dead musical icons. (Will we get Johnny: The Musical next year?) It's dress-up theatre, imitation with little interpretation, demonstrating the weakest conception of what's possible on a live stage. What this ill-conceived vanity production does, though, is make us appreciate the strengths of Quentin Tarantino 's script. It's a beautifully crafted piece that seems to be about a botched diamond heist but is really about the power of storytelling itself.
Tarantino artfully shows us scenes before and after the heist - which we never see - then fills in some key moments in the characters' histories, fleshing out this unique and influential tale (Memento wouldn't have happened without Reservoir Dogs) about loyalty among men.
Director/adaptor John Christian Quinn , who also dons a black suit and skinny tie in a key role, has set the production in a big warehouse, and it's one of the few elements that adds to the experience, although there are acoustic problems and the bleacher seats are hard on the back.
Familiar scenes unfold one after the other; blandly shot video sequences fill us in on what's happening outside the warehouse. These segments really make us long for Tarantino's cinematographer. An intermission kills whatever momentum the show's gained in the first half.
The musical selections, all from the film, work their magic and add to the retro noir feel - must buy the soundtrack, I kept thinking - but the performers fail to generate much excitement. The actors aren't varied enough in their delivery, and Quinn doesn't modulate the tone.
The ear scene looks convincing.