Good Job Horses comes and goes like a dream, as the creators push a surrealistic situation to the breaking point -- much to the delight of the audience.
The latest creation from Jon Ferguson and Theatre Forever takes us to the old West, or maybe the new West, or maybe just a West we imagine.
At an empty hotel, a trio of outlaws arrives to gunfire. They are packing heat in their fingers (shades of Live Action Set's 7-Shot Symphony), and are carrying a multitude of crumpled, bloody bills jammed into plastic bags, crammed into pockets, and even hiding beneath their cowboy hats.
There, they meet Ray, an odd duck of a hotel manager who is eager to not just offer the services of the facility, but wants to take the trio on a spiritual retreat. As they have a few days before their "High Moon" confrontation with their pursuers, they agree.
The ladies aren't the most cultured trio (they worked together to get a G.E.D. -- just the one -- for the group), and they are feeling the loss of two fallen comrades. Still, they find pleasure in the sauna, the pool (despite a shark attack), and even a final feast where the nourishment comes from within. Together, they begin to change under the influence of Ray and the hotel (which talks, by the way).
Like any Theatre Forever production, there is a lot of pleasure to be found in the moment-to-moment action, even though the script by Kate Tarker does provide some structure to the action.
During a sauna break, for example, Ray comes in to join the ladies. They're wearing towels. All he has on is a landscape painting that hangs from his neck and hides part of actor Ryan Patrick's anatomy.
The women -- Tarker, Charlotte Calvert, and Carly Wicks -- are a good-natured trio who have gotten into a situation far over their head. They steal and lose fortunes in a moment (the women-only retreat basically costs them their entire booty from the last job) for the pleasure of just doing something. All three actors bring that out in their physical and engaging performances.
Good Job Horses is funny and strange and even more than a little bit moving, especially as we watch this odd quartet of characters make their final moves (it involves the moon, several lassos, and a sparkly cowboy outfit for Ray) into the sunset.
IF YOU GO:
Good Job Horses Through May 29 The Southern Theater 1420 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis $24; or $18 per month ARTshare membership For more information, visit online.