Money & Run Episode 4: Go Straight, No Chaser
Theater Schmeater, 324-5801. Through June 2.

It's 11:00 p.m. You're herded into an impossibly converted garage, and you sit on the most ass-numbing pieces of wood ever nailed together. You're tired, most likely a little drunk, and not sure what to expect--but the electricity in the air begins to affect you. The excitement level of a Money & Run show is usually reserved for major sporting events and strip shows: a noisy, good-natured anticipation, featuring loud whoops, stomping feet, and spontaneous eruptions of applause. The lights go down. Explosively eccentric characters begin a dialogue so furious and clever it seems almost too overwhelming for a tipsy audience to absorb. But soon you're hooked, happily caught up in this "Dukes of Hazzard with serious emotional problems" world.

The Money & Run shows are presented as sequential episodes of a TV series, beginning with previous episode recaps and concluding with previews of the next installment--if you missed any (or all) of the previous shows, you catch up easily as you go along. In Episode 4, the sexy and legendary armed bandits Money and Run (Lisa Neal and G. Joshua Sliwa) are captured and forced to renounce their life of crime. Of course, their integration into clean-living society is pregnant with the possibility of ever-so-wacky misadventures as Money tries her hand as a homemaker and Run as a wage slave in a fast-food joint. They are framed for a series of truck hijackings that has virtually shut down Cudrup County's thriving home-shopping-network industry, and, of course, chaos ensues.

The true spirit of Money & Run is with the players. Julie Rawley so obviously loves playing the overblown villain Big Momma Bob (a kind of Southern Ruth Buzzi on crack) that she alone makes the show worth seeing. The introduction of the perfectly hysterical "Kathies"--trailer-trash gals afflicted by stretch pants and enormous hair (Amy Broomhall and Laurie Jerger)--and the always popular fight scenes choreographed to buttrock classics make it worth seeing twice.