Grotesquerie is proudly on display in Jessica Jill Turner's new play, Charlie Moose Makes His Move, onstage until April 10 at the Looking Glass Theatre. The titular character, played by Corey Patrick, is the worst kind of unbearable, egotistical bastard: he is convinced that he is a creative genius of unequaled brilliance, when in reality he can barely write for a bad soap opera. Charlie barks orders at his only friend, Simon, a fidgety, socially awkward 12-year-old, played with nervous abandon by Brian Sacca. And he is convinced that somewhere there is a coked-up stripper waiting patiently for his love, despite the fact that he has no evidence of this at all. Charlie is also disgustingly obese, weighing over 300 pounds, and has not left his chair in over a year.
If the sight of a giant lump of a man giving dictation to the most socially retarded boy imaginable isn't enough to give you a serious case of the heebie-jeebies, then perhaps a few other members of Turner's demented menagerie can raise the hairs on the back of your neck. There's Simon's mother, Nancy Tarbox (Kelly Eubanks), an aspiring sociopath whose path to enlightenment includes adventures in unwanted pregnancies and slamming her fingers repeatedly in a filing cabinet drawer.
There's also Gene Schiffer (Adam Tsekhman), Simon's twisted school psychiatrist, whose attempts at shepherding his students to proper mental health are offset by his Russian sexual repression. And then there's Honey Blank (Marci Adilman), who is, quite simply, the worst stripper in the world.
All of these widely careening elements, barely held in check by director Ashiln Halfnight's able hand, add up to one of the oddest, most hysterical, and most original pieces of theater I've seen in a long time. This is not because Turner and Halfnight trot out a few strange characters