The Armadillo Necktie is a powerful, passionate and an often compelling portrait of massive insanity. It is revealed through numerous, often lengthy, always powerful soliloquies by Colonel Ulysses Simpson Armadillo [Bert Emmett] a character that seems very much akin to Colonel Walter Kurtz in the Oscar award-winning movie Apocalypse Now only now we are taken to Iraq rather than Vietnam.
The entire tale is told within the walls of a small trailer parked somewhere is a desolate part of Iraq where for many years it has been occupied by Colonel Armadillo and his loyal to a fault aide Buckley Dunham.
One day three uninvited and very much unwanted guests arrive at the trailer. First it is Bruce Walker [Morgan Lauff] who has in fact been captured by Buckley Dunham who is about to torture Walker, a suspected mercenary — but is he? Next to arrive is New York Times reporter Madeline Sainz [Jennifer Laks] who is on a mission to interview the reclusive Colonel Ulysses Simpson Armadillo. But is that really all that she wants? Finally a local Iraqi woman, Aminah Abdul-haleem Ali [Shanti Ashanti], arrives seeking help from Colonel Armadillo in finding and retrieving her husband who she claims has been captured by evil men, the same evil men she asserts who killed the Colonel’s wife.
The stage now fully set the story unfolds in many directions. Subplots are plentiful and deceit and various degrees of delusion and insanity steadily emerge. The acting is consistently excellent and the overall production is replete with abundant often very powerful tales within the tale. But at some point I began to feel that perhaps there was a bit too much of an otherwise good thing.
Furthermore given the intensity exhibited throughout the telling of the story its end seemed somewhat disappointing; rather like letting the air out of balloon when perhaps it should have exploded.
That said it is a very unique and powerful performance with much to be enjoyed. And I guarantee you with so many miserable murderous people bringing terror and hate into our world you will be totally supportive of the concept that is The Armadillo Necktie.
You may enjoy this show now through July 31st at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood, California 91601. Show times are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday Matinees at 2:00 p.m. Largely due to its intensity it is recommended for adults only. Ticketing and reservations available online at: www.thegrouprep.com or by calling 818-763-5990.
Top photo by Doug Engalla
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.