Second City Detroit comedy theater alumni and co-writers Joshua Funk and Nancy Hayden comedy sketch the bastard child that could have been produced of a drunk and drugged one-night stand between This is Spinal Tap (1984) and The Commitments (1991). They call it Garage: A Rock Saga; it’s a muddle of dead dads, burnout rock epiphanies and hit-but-often-missed parodies of the music business, relationships ... and Satanism, that elliptically spans from 1974 to today.
If nothing else, Garage is truly a saga from its start. Director Mikey Brown slingshots us from the tail of a brilliantly streaking comet, through the zodiac constellations toward planet Earth — while George Wendt (“Norm” from TV’s “Cheers” and a Second City Chicago alumnus) rants about baseball. We finally see Wendt’s character in the (ballooning) flesh delivering what ends up being a loud-mouthed men’s-room eulogy on the greatness of his dearly departed teammate, Frank Pluczinski, Sr. to Frank Pluczinski, Jr. (Joshua Funk): “You can only hope to be half as good a man as your father was! You remember dat!” Frank will.
Leaving the wake, Frank fatefully crosses paths with a garage-load of old band equipment and a married-with-children burnout who preaches the gospel of rock and roll, philosophizing like one of writer-director Kevin Smith’s Dogma characters. Next thing you know, Frank’s garage becomes the repository for the veteran band gear, a Valhalla for Frank and his persistent band of loser avatars who call themselves Garage.
A manic MTV-styled mockumentary on the band, a psychedelic fairy tale called “The Acorn Prince” and a laugh-out-loud pair of bungling Satanists who deserve their own movie are what fulfill the band’s mission statement to: “1. Rock 2. Roll.” Under the junk, they’re the few treasures in this Garage.
Showing exclusively at Planet Ant Theatre (2357 Caniff, Hamtramck), Fridays and Saturdays in March, beginning March 9. Show times: 8 and 10 p.m. and midnight. Call 313-365-4948 for reservations.
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