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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fringe review! "The Karate Guy"

Posted By on Sun, May 17, 2009 at 4:09 PM

The Karate Guy

KMK Productions

Pink Venue

$9

Hey, remember the '80s? KMK Productions (Christian Kelty, Michael Marinaccio, Seth Kubersky) sure does. And as an ode to the Reaganite era, they've written The Karate Guy, an updated sequel to ... well, if you can't figure it out, you won't want to see this.

Daniel-san (Marinaccio) is now pushing 40. He clings to the memory of his heroic championship win (without the use of real karate) while he gets drunk, lives with his mom (Eric Pinder) and works at the Cobra Kai Car Wash for his old nemesis, Johnny Lawrence (Kelty, hilarious from first entrance).

He still hangs with Miyagi (Terrence Yip), whose nigh-racist Miyagi-isms have grown cynical with age. But hopefully Miyagi can help Daniel figure out if the hot, troubled girl at work (Sarah Jane Fridlich) is a nymphomaniac or a compulsive liar.

If you don't get that last reference, you might be in the wrong place. The show doesn't just nod to John Hughes' flicks, it culls entire scenes and exchanges, devoid of context within this story. The jokes are in the remembering.

The performances are elevated beyond what the material calls for. Kubersky's direction gives this show a blend of Airplane-like surrealism and Judd Apatow nuance. Marinaccio is so committed to this Daniel-san, it's hard not to see the real person in him.

The person they're hoping you see is yourself, the inner-man-child, that still wants the big win to change everything.

-- Trevor Fraser

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