Union >Chuck E. Cheese's
Brightly colored surroundings and loud music sung by large mechanical critters make for kid-pleasing pizza parties..
Part arcade, part playground, part children's theater, this theme restaurant entertains children as much as it feeds them. Rated-G video games and auto-racing simulators provide an interactive counterpoint to the bigger-than-life singing animal robots. The playground, a huge collection of multicolored plastic balls and elevated Sky Tubes, lets grownups breathe while energized tykes dive and climb. Aside from pizza, the limited menu has grilled sandwiches, hot dogs and for dessert, cotton candy.
Something smells foul at the US HIghwway 22 Chuck E. Cheese, and this time, it?s not the food. But much like the pizza that the chain was founded upon, the dinner theater?s latest stage show is bland, cheesy, and hard to swallow. The latest production, aptly entitled ?The Pizza Party Mystery?, fails spectacularly at almost every level, with an astonishingly predictable plot that is only rivaled in it?s impotence by the ineffectual and stilted performances of nearly every member of the cast.
This theatrical debacle begins in the house of the protagonist, Chuck E. Cheese, where we learn that he and his company are about to celebrate Cheese?s birthday with a pizza party. All are in high spirits at the prospect of the impending feast. Tired and hackneyed jokes are exchanged between the party guests to little comedic effect. The characters ?Pasqually?, a shamefully stereotypical Italian chef, and ?Mr. Munch?, who appeared to be a keyboard-playing monster of some kind, (it?s never really established) act as the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the production, providing numerous tedious knock-knock jokes and lame puns, almost all of which revolve around the subject of pizza.
In a lone stroke of directorial deftness, the play is interrupted abruptly at one point so that the cast can inform the parents in attendance that Chuck E. Cheese?s is ?the perfect birthday party headquarters? and then detail several affordable packages that they might wish to consider in order to make their child?s next birthday more ?hassle-free and fun- tastic?. This obvious symbolic denunciation of America?s rampant commercialism is both effective and refreshing and stands as the high point of the production.
So, while ?Pizza Party Mystery? has little chance of entering the pantheon of theatrical classics, a few bright spots were achieved in spite of, not because of the writing; and the salad bar was all you can eat.
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