Play Review:You’ll get a kick out of THE BIG BANG
For the Times-Herald Record

SUSSEX, N.J. — Mel Brooks’ most recent forays on the Great White Way —
“The Producers” and “Young Frankenstein” — were based on two of his hit movies.
One can only imagine what colossal production numbers might be choreographed if
“Blazing Saddles,” “High Anxiety” and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” were to make it
to Broadway.

one need not look any further than Boyd Graham and Jed Feuer’s “The Big
Bang” to envision what Brooks’ “History of the World, Part I” would have been
like if Brooks had sent this 1981 film he wrote, directed and produced to the stage
with a tiny bit of “The Producers” plot line thrown in for good measure.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Brooks would be happy to know that
Graham (book and lyrics) and Feuer (music) have paid him homage with their work currently
being presented by a fantastic two-man cast 
at Tri-State Actors Theater.

As prospective investors of a Boyd (Bill Edwards) and Jed (Scotty Watson) $83.5 million budget, 318-member-
cast production encompassing “the entire history of civilization,” the audience is treated to a backer’s audition
of “highlights” from this mega-musical billed as “one of the greatest theatrical events of all time.”

What follows in the umpteen acts and scenes are 90 minutes of the most laughable lyrics and chaotic costume
changes you will ever see, thanks to this duo of gifted actors.

From the beginning of time, Edwards and Watson delight us in “One Big Bang,” the opening number. Throughout
history, and subsequent acts and scenes, the two go on to portray Adam and Eve, Jewish slaves, the Blessed
Virgin and Mrs. Gandhi, Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella, Minnehaha and Pocahontas, Napoleon and
Josephine Bonaparte, and Tokyo Rose and Shanghai Lil.

As Boyd, Bill Edwards is just marvelous as the jive-talking Egyptian queen Nefertiti in “Viva la Diva,” a wacky
soothsayer in “Wake Up Caesar” and a heavily Puerto Rican-accented Queen Isabella in “The United States of
Isabella.” With Watson at his side, 
Edwards shines as Amber Lee in the antebellum South, serves up a witty
ditty as one of Henry VIII’s chefs in “Cooking for Henry” 
and brings down the house in the final number.

Not to be outdone by his partner, Scotty Watson is equally entertaining as Jed. In his scenes as Mrs. Gandhi
(“Motherhood Is One Hell of a Job”), Pocahontas (“The Dating Scene”) and Tokyo Rose (“Ladies of the Orient”),
he is 
a zany sidekick. However, Watson is best as Leo the Christian-eating lion in “I Work the Colosseum,”
Josephine meeting Napoleon Bonaparte for the first time in “Today’s Just Yesterday’s Tomorrow” and
Eva Braun in “Loving Him Is Where I Went Wrong.”

Chris Lance adds a bit of dry humor as Albert, their accompanist.

Jenn Womack’s direction of this insanely inventive musical is superb, as is Patricia Meacham’s wardrobe
created from costume designs used in Tri-State’s 2004 production of this show.