SoloShows VAUD RATS PRYK DOUBLE CLIMAX THE 42ND FLOOR K Brian Neel



A journey into the past is like looking through a window. No matter how much you pound and yell... you're helpless to change what's on the other side.

NOIR

When visiting a college buddy whose wife was shot to death, Donald Everly finds himself entrenched in a whodunit. He shares suspicion with a greasy-haired detective, Castor Follett McSouly, that his old friend may be crafting an insurance scam. But things get complicated when a slinky stripper and violent bald man enter the picture.

DOUBLE CLIMAX is the story of an innocent man caught between an insurance scam and bizarre love triangle. A mystery where deviance is submerged beneath lies, and friendship is a way to manipulate treachery.

DOUBLE CLIMAX, K. Brian Neel's third solo play, is noir film live on stage. Neel glides seamlessly from character to character revealing twists and turns with lightning speed, even reciting shot descriptions to complete the cinematic experience.

Crowned BEST PLAY at the Edmonton International Theatre Festival (the largest in North America), and playing to sold-out crowds across the United States, Canada and Australia, "The likes of DOUBLE CLIMAX may not come again." -Edmonton Sun.


REVIEWS

"Astonishingly great. The best piece of physical theater I've ever seen." - Calgary Straight, Canada

CRITIC'S PICK - Chicago Reader, Seattle Weekly
"Hollywood doesn't need to spend millions making a film; not when it can be done by a bloke in a shirt with two chairs as props.
Virtuoso actor K. Brian Neel, from Seattle, plays eight characters, plus extras, car chases and fight scenes, in his own solo play, DOUBLE CLIMAX. It is narrative whodunit--no post-modernist cop out--as an innocent in suburban America gets caught in a web of murder, treachery and perhaps love.
This cinematic story, appropriately performed in a cinema, is memorable, pure, live theatre." - Adelaide Advertiser, Australia

"This one-man tour de force is both a send-up and an affectionate tribute to film noir. Seattle's K. Brian Neel not only plays all the characters in this twisting tale, he even recites shot descriptions to complete the cinematic experience.
The central character is Donald, who is visiting his old friend Nolan. Nolan's wife, Eve, has been shot to death, and before long, Donald begins to share the suspicion of a greasy-haired detective, Castor, that--contrary to Nolan's claims--Eve's death was no accident. Things are further complicated by Misty, aka Meme (pronounced Mimi but named, she explains, for the philosophical concept of "an unconscious thought passed from person to person, like a song lyric"), a former (and perhaps current) lover of Nolan's; and by Eli, Meme's boyfriend.
It's all twists and turns, like a good old-fashioned thriller, and Neel gives it his all with manic energy and virtuosic range: his characterization of the squinting, growling Castor is particularly hilarious. Burke Nemo's ultra-noir lighting and Ben Nevada's sound design provide a suitably sinister setting for this frantically paced, continually surprising, and very stylish show." -Georgia Straight, Vancouver, Canada

"Astonishing is the rambunctious physicality of Neel's performance, whether shaking his booty as a stripper or recoiling as an unwilling customer. There are other one-man shows with many characters, but at one point Neel chases himself down and beats himself to a pulp. You can't help but cast the roles for the movie in your head -- Randy Quaid as the loutish suspect? Orson Welles as that monstrous detective? Hey, why not Neel for all of them? You've got your marching orders... the likes of Double Climax may not come again. Five Stars (out of five). Best of Festival." -Edmonton Sun, Canada

"Utterly absorbing... brilliantly executed." - Seattle Weekly

"Amazing writing and performing. Neel is a one-man panorama." - Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"A physical masterpiece. Interesting and multi-faceted. Neel's enthusiatsic takes on the fat detective and the slinky blonde alone are worth the price of admission." - Westender Magazine, Vancouver

"Double Climax is ostensibly a film noir thriller, yet the one-man show also conjures up the jolly horrors of Grand Guignol theatre.
Actually, if the legends are true, Grand Guignol was a hundred times gorier and much less tasteful than K. Brian Neel's enjoyable one-man homage to film noir, wrapping up a three-day run tonight at the Belfry Arts Centre studio. Theatre du Grand Guignol was a turn-of-the-century Parisian company that spiced up its scripts with fun things like self-mutilations and disembowelings. Frequent trips to the butcher's (cow's eyeballs and buckets of pig's blood, anyone?) gave these 19th-century equivalents to modern-day horror flicks an extra visceral wallop.
The Seattle actor's self-penned tour de force tips its hat to Guignol-style sensationalism; however, it's all done through the power of suggestion, hence the beauty of this 60-minute romp.
We get oodles of incest, syringe-squirting drug addiction, bloody fist-fights, bone-splattering murders and much, much more. In the Belfry's intimate studio, this is conveyed with a disconcerting power, even though Neel uses few props or stage effects. Instead, the actor -- who's worked extensively with mime and improv theatre troupes -- manages it mostly through story-telling and body language.
Double Climax is the tale of an ordinary (well, fairly ordinary) guy who gets embroiled in a sicko love triangle and an insurance fraud. Neel, who commences his show with a blood curdling scream, plays about a dozen characters with impressive aplomb. My favourites are Eli, a choleric, goggle-eyed intense maniac who resembles a refugee from an R. Crumb comic; a gigantic insurance scam investigator who could be a caricature of John Goodman; and the short-lived appearance of an aging good-time gal.
Neel paints such characters with a few deft strokes, yet manages -- through clever grimaces and body placement-- to suggest three-dimensional folk who have lives, families, friends ... and plenty of personal demons.
Film noir lovers will find much to savour in Double Climax. There are the familiar deviant characters and hair-pin turn plot twists. Neel serves as his own narrator, verbalizing script directions ("cut to Don in his Ford Escort," etc.) to give the play a retro-cinematic feel. While there's little in the way of visual tricks, an intermittent overhead spotlight provides the archetypal noir look.
Music is used cleverly, whether it be Tom Jones's What's New Pussycat serving as an ironic counterpoint to a murder scene, or slinky jazz peppered with burping baritone saxophones and the laser flash of trumpets. The latter accompanies Double Climax's most remarkable sequence -- a fight scene in which Neel plays both combatants. The sequence is almost dance-like as the actor delivers and receives cuts and thrusts with stunning verisimilitude. It's a virtuoso turn.
Neel further flaunts his stuff by flicking on a ghetto blaster and carrying on dialogue with a pre-recorded tape. This is a neat, crowd-pleasing trick (the timing must be exact)
Double Climax boasts more twists and spirals then a spaghetti dinner for 12." - Times Colonist, Victoria, Canada

"Opens with a bang and runs at breakneck speed." - See Magazine, Edmonton

"Neel brilliantly combines physical theatre with film noir. He is able to create an imaginable film world for his cast of characters with only the use of his voice, his body, music, two chairs and a needle." - Vue Weekly, Edmonton, Canada

"Hollywood doesn't need to spend millions making a film; not when it can be done by a bloke in a shirt with two chairs as props.
Virtuoso actor K. Brian Neel, from Seattle, plays eight characters, plus extras, car chases and fight scenes, in his own solo play, DOUBLE CLIMAX. It is narrative whodunit--no post-modernist cop out--as an innocent in suburban America gets caught in a web of murder, treachery and perhaps love.
This cinematic story, appropriately performed in a cinema, is memorable, pure, live theatre." - Adelaide Advertiser, Australia


RESOURCES

Media Kit PDF

Press Release PDF

K. Brian Neel Resume PDF