The Lone Stranger: The Man in the Macho Mask

At Murray’s Desert Star Playhouse, good-natured parody is always the bill of fare, but never has the parody been so good-natured as in “The Lone Stranger: The Man in the Macho Mask,” playing through Sept. 18.

In fact, things are almost TOO gentle here. The jokes are aimed at a target that’s not exactly at the forefront of American consciousness (the Lone Ranger? C’mon!), and the show is, alas, largely forgettable.

That said, I should point out that, as always, Scott Holman is the show’s saving grace. He plays Spud, one of two dim-witted, dentally impaired bad guys who operate under the direction of Finius Thermador (Jack Drayton), who plans to take over the town of Tumbleweed Junction.

Holman has emerged over the last several shows as the Desert Star’s most reliable, consistent performer. He knows how long to milk a joke, and he carefully walks the line between being silly and KNOWING he’s being silly.

With Kori E. Hazel as his fellow bumbling idiot, the two are so dumb so much of the time that you can’t help but laugh. It’s not that their lines are terribly funny; it’s just that they’re so relentless.

The outrageous set pieces so well beloved at the Desert Star are also in full force here, with a horse, a train, and various other larger-than-life items that make one laugh at the mere sight of them.

Steven Fehr plays Buck Sidesaddle, a rather wimpy fellow who turns quite manly when he becomes the Lone Stranger. Ricky Jason is his Indian sidekick, Pronto, whose constant war dancing and other stereotypical behavior would make him a racially offensive character, were it not for the fact that Desert Star is so naive that one has to assume it’s all done in innocence.

The post-show “Sand-n-Surf Olio” is the usual mixture of singing and dancing, slightly better than a Road Show, with choreography by Hazel and musical direction by Brooks Holm.

With such a weak target and a lack of oomph in the writing, “The Lone Stranger” is one of Desert Star’s lesser shows. You’ll enjoy seeing it, but you’re liable to forget almost everything about it immediately afterward.

I have no vivid memories of this show. There must be some amusing anecdote to tell, but darned if I can think of one. Oh, our friend Katie went, and she was way pregnant, and it was her birthday, and they sang to her between the show and the Olio. That was fun.