SOURCE Theater continues its increasingly intriguing midnight theater series with Sam Shepard's "Cowboy Mouth," a rude, raucous, rock and roll tantrum at the Warehouse Rep. With a live rock band and some over-the-top, off-the-wall acting, this hour-long show was made for after midnight.
"Cowboy Mouth" was written in 1971, after Shepard left his wife to live with punk poet Patti Smith in New York's notorious Chelsea Hotel. Shepard has said the two "shoved the typewriter back and forth across the table" in their frenzied collaboration on the play, and their sharply distinctive voices are clearly discernible in this street-poetry capsulization of their lives together.
Crow-like Cavale has lured rangy Coyote Slim into her appalling lowlife apartment with the promise of making him a star, "a rock and roll Jesus with a cowboy mouth." The two cuss and fight, swap childhood stories, rant to a stuffed crow named Raymond, order food from the Lobster Man, and talk in drug-fueled mystical claptrap about rock stars as outlaws, pariahs and saviors until Slim, homesick and bored, decides he wants out of her dream.
As Cavale, Amy Freedman eerily recreates Patti Smith's raw charisma, feral stare and incantatory delivery. Ian Armstrong makes a brash, bad-boy Slim, and Brigita Depree has a funny walk-on as the comically costumed Lobster Man, who metamorphoses into Cavale's androgynous rock god. The four-man band is sharp, with David Plante creating sax squalls and guitarist/composer Steve Ragsdale cracking rock jokes underneath the action.
COWBOY MOUTH -- At Source Theater Warehouse Rep, Fridays and Saturdays at midnight through May 31.