GayFest Review: Devil Boys from Beyond

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

When space aliens descend on the small 1950’s Florida town of Lizard Lick, an ex-husband and wife team of journalists is hot on the trail, followed by an adversarial gossip columnist who will stop at nothing to scoop them. That’s the hard-boiled story of Devil Boys from Beyond, but the plot takes a backseat to the hysterically campy theatrics therein.

J. Kenneth Jordan delivers an obnoxiously lovable drag performance as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mattie Van Buren, who is still hopelessly in love with her goofy alcoholic photographer ex, Gregory Graham (Peter Zielinski). Jordan’s line readings are so deliciously over-the-top that you can’t help but scream with laughter, even when it’s a simple one-word utterance like the word “Murder,” which Jordan draws out to the edge of total mispronunciation. His Mattie Van Buren is like the bizarre lovechild of Cary Grant and Ellen Greene, and completely nails the tone of the play throughout.

Elsewhere, Thomas-Robert Irving positively glows with shrewd malevolence, and the scantily-clad OMG hunky artfully undressed gay-liens radiate an otherworldly heat. In fact, from the gruff newspaperman to the twangy townsfolk of Lizard Lick, just about every performance is pitch-perfect.

The bare-bones set isn’t doing any favors to the proceedings, but Kevin Jordan’s costuming makes sure that the eye is dazzled as much by the outlandish wardrobe of the all-male (most of them in drag) cast as it is by the hilarity of the stylized dialogue. This is by far the silliest of the GayFest proceedings, but its rollicking bravado is captivating.



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