Hold on to Your Butts
Over the just the past three weekends, Jurassic World, fueled by CGI and nostalgia, has rocketed somewhat unexpectedly to over half a billion dollars in domestic box office (only the fifth film ever to do so) and double that worldwide. The timing seems auspicious, then, for the current run of Hold on to Your Butts, Recent Cutbacks’ comedic homage to the ur-text in the Jurassic series. Over the course of an hour, Nick Abeel and Kyle Schaefer frenetically re-enact Jurassic Park on a bare stage, impersonating the entire cast -- human and non-human alike -- and accompanied by a live soundtrack and foley effects from Kelsey Didion, stationed stage right.
The show is high-energy and inventive. Throughout the rapid-fire changes, characters are identified (and sometimes embodied) by distinguishing props -- Alan Grant's sunglasses, Tim's backpack, Alexis's ballcap. Samuel L. Jackson’s character, called "Samuel L. Jackson," rates a cigarette-smoking cardboard-cutout head, probably because he's Samuel L. Jackson. This also means that the audience is treated to dueling Jeff Goldblum imitations (slight edge to Abeel there), which, in addition to being hilarious, also prove that Jeff Goldblum can be the best part of a movie even in parodic reenactment form. Stepladders, swim goggles, and traffic cones help the trio hit all the major beats of the movie; and, aside from a few more pointed jabs at things like Dr. Wu existing merely to occasionally dump exposition and Dennis Nedry's meaningless computer jargon, the tone is one more of gentle ribbing than of satire. There are also some great absurdist additions, such as a segment in which Didion is forced to provide sound for an unconscionably detailed preparation of refreshments or a semi-articulated threesome proposal from Ian Malcolm.
If you're looking for a reminder of a more innocent past when a movie would take time out to stop and explain the concept of cloning, then Hold on To Your Butts is a fast, funny ride. It's also as close as you can get to live velociraptors, for now. And yes, you can bring in your drink from the attached bar. - Leah Richard and John Ziegler