Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Out of Iceland

Well, kudos to the Culture Project's Out of Iceland for leaving me at a loss for words. Unfortunately, that's about the kindest thing I could say about it. Honestly, I don't even know how to review a show this unentertainingly bad. If they're even remotely like this one, please let me never see another play by Drew Larimore. I can't judge Josh Hecht's direction because the play itself is so bad. Maybe he took it on just because he loves Lea DeLaria as much as I do? I mean, I also made the poor decision to see the show because she's in it. Now we both know better.

The good:

* DeLaria is always a pleasure to watch. She's great here as a mischievous troll(?) with a wandering accent. I also loved her in Prometheus Bound at the A.R.T., and she's the main reason I bought a ticket to Out of Iceland.

* DeLaria's tattoos. No, this has nothing to do with the show, but they gave me something else to watch as I counted down the minutes until I could leave the theater.

* DeLaria's blue pseudo-mohawk. It's hot.

* Stagehand mimes. More amusing for them actually existing as part of this production than anything in particular that they do. Say it with me now: STAGEHAND MIMES.

* It's short, so there's time to drink yourself into oblivion afterward.

The bad:

* Everything else.

No, really, pretty much everything else. The plot is trite even though it's cloyingly quirky at the same time. The characters are unbelievable, but not in a fun campy way. The dialogue is just terrible. The acting is bad, particularly from Jillian Crane, who takes bad material and then somehow makes it worse. Michael Bakkensen manages to be charming sometimes despite everything. But his Southern accent is awful.

Note to actors: Sounding Southern is not the same as sounding like the stereotype of a learning-disabled child. Also, not everyone in the South has the same accent. Stop being so lazy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Leap of Faith

What? You're trying to decide whether to see Leap of Faith*** on Broadway? How is that even a question?

Ok, it's possible that I can't be even a little bit objective about this show. I love the movie on which this musical is based. And we all know I'm a sucker for it raining on stage. Plus Raúl Esparza is a sexy beast. And--as you can see above--he wears a freaking mirror-ball jacket. While singing his balls off. Alongside Jessica Phillips singing her ovaries off.

Overall, the movie is much better, but I think you'll like the musical too (though pretty much ALL the professional reviewers seem to disagree). I don't even care that I can't remember any of the songs right now. They sound great when they're happening, and the show is just so. much. fun.

Esparza as a womanizing, swindling, fake revival preacher? YES PLEASE. Phillips as a jaded sheriff and single mother? Oh yeah. (Seriously, her voice is so amazing in this that I really wish I'd seen her in Next to Normal.) Leslie Odom Jr., Kendra Kassebaum, and the rest of the cast are fantastic and have huge voices. For me the only problem is Talon Ackerman as the wheelchair-bound son, but that part is seriously underwritten so it's not entirely his fault.

All in all, I found Leap of Faith to be more fun than Bonnie & Clyde, Catch Me if You Can, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert combined.

*** I saw this show in previews.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

If you're in Boston: Next to Normal, Long Day's Journey into Night

I'm halfway through my first week of blissful unemployment and still haven't made a dent in my review backlog. But I did change out of my PJs to head to the theater twice in two days. [Thanks for getting me out of the house, Todd!] So here are quick recommendations for two Boston-area shows you should catch before time runs out.

If you're a fan of the pill-popping musical, go enjoy the Speakeasy production of Next to Normal. There are some powerful performances on that BCA stage. I hear there's good availability for the last two weeks of the run, but sit toward the back for the best experience--it's a bit overwhelming from up close.

Also definitely set aside a good three-and-a-half hours to take in O'Neill's powerful family drama Long Day's Journey into Night at the New Rep out in Watertown. Everything about it is fantastic, and it's especially great as a vision of how the family in Next to Normal might have been a century earlier. Seriously.

Yay for more theatrical synergy! Be sure to catch both shows before they close April 22. For your mental health, though, I don't recommend seeing them the same day.

I'll be back with more next week, after I see Leap of Faith, Freestyle Love Supreme, and the Broadway transfer of Once!

* Sadly, I do not own these actual pyjamas. Yet.