The weirdos of Philadelphia theater – and we mean that with the utmost respect and admiration – are at it again. Brat Productions is putting on "The Last Plot in Revenge," a spaghetti western with characters dueling over the one remaining cemetery plot in the town of Revenge, Montana. The genre-bending musical-and-dinner-theater combo was written by local playwright Brian Grace-Duff and directed by John Clancy, the Obie Award winner who founded New York City Fringe. It promises blood, grit, and a blurred line of reality.
That’s right, you did not misread the part about this being dinner theater. Because, honestly, what good is a spaghetti western without spaghetti? The dinner portion of your experience is being donated by Nick’s Roast Beef.
“You know when you're at a Brat [Productions] show because something is happening, not just on the stage, but all around you, to you, with you," says Grace-Duff. "It's an event. And food is something they worked with before in 'Eye-95 with Frito Pie.' This is a bigger execution than that, but the idea is the same.”
The playwright doesn’t seem too worried about the food being a distraction. In fact, he nearly welcomes it. “It's so easy to get lost in the story that you actually forget you're watching something, you're immersed,” he says. “But dealing with a bowl of spaghetti? Nothing is more immediate than to say 'hey, what’s in your mouth, that's real.' But what you're watching, that's not. At least not the same kind of real.”
As Grace-Duff mentions, it’s easy to get fully immersed in a performance, especially when the violence is so real there’s a “blood splash zone” for audience members. In striking contrast to the brutality is the original music. But don’t be fooled, this is not a musical of melodic love songs.
“There’s one song that’s eight and a half minutes long with no chorus,” Grace-Duff says. “Character aren’t singing in that emotional, 'I fell in love' way. It’s more reflective and immediate.”
It’s just the type of skewed, unnerving performance we’ve come to expect from Brat Productions.
'The Last Plot in Revenge'
7 or 7:30 p.m.
Archive Space at Lucy’s Hat Shop
247 Market St.