Dirty Pictures

Do What Now Media and a very resourceful writer-director, Frank Cwiklik, have found a way to resurrect a dreadful C-list movie, and what's more, through their alchemy they have managed to make it infinitely more watchable. The film, and now show, is called The Sinister Urge! and is based on a 1961 Ed Wood movie. A serial killer has been stabbing women in Rutherford Park, and as the bumbling Lieutenant Matt Carson (Bob Brader) investigates the murders, he also tries to bring down an underground pornography racket run by Gloria Henderson (Michelle Schlossberg) and Johnny Ride (Josh Mertz).

Urge is less mystery and more madcap comedy, as the audience knows that the insane Dirk Williams (a riotous Bryan Enk) is the murderer. The play's zaniness comes from the twists and turns that ensue: various red herrings and misunderstandings get in the way of the Rutherford Park police and keep them from doing anything right.

These complications come from the show's secondary characters, including Officer Klein (Kevin Orzechoswki), another dim bulb of a cop); Sergeant Randy Stone (Matthew Gray), Carson's partner, who excels at flirtatious double entendres and little else; Jaffe (Mateo Moreno), Ride's cameraman; and the many women whose innocent acting ambitions have led them down the dangerous path to pornography (the sinister urge of the title).

Urge does not really spring to life until more than halfway through its running time, with a movie-within-a-movie—or, in this case, a movie-within-a-show—chronicling the fall of Mary Smith. The beguiling Melissa Nearman is a wonderful discovery as Mary, a perfect young woman from the heartland who doesn't drink or smoke but, in pursuit of fame, ends up trapped in Gloria and Johnny's lair.

Cwiklik expertly weaves this section into the play, making it a showstopper rather than something extraneous that's been shoehorned into the rest of the piece. Throughout the show, in fact, he and his Do What Now Media colleagues impressively incorporate film and video elements into the live action. The rest of the cast helps him out as well. Schlossberg is great as an acidic femme fatale, and Brader and Mertz, in addition to Enk, seem up for anything. All are masters of physical comedy.

What is perhaps most remarkable is that Cwiklik has assembled his show, performed in the confined spaces of the Red Room in the East Village, on a very limited budget. And yet he found no limitations when it came to communicating his unique, devilish style. I congratulate him and his company of fellow imps. This is one Urge that should not be denied.

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