Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thunderpussy - My First Theatre Criticism Blog

I promised myself when I started writing this blog that I wouldn't be one of those bloggers who only talks about one subject all the time. For me, that topic would be theatre. So, I promise, I'll do an entry about sports or something soon. But I saw a show tonight, and it's all I can think to write about, so y'all are stuck for the moment.

Not that anyone is reading this anyway.

I just saw a show at the Annoyance theatre on Broadway (that's Chicago) called Thunderpussy: A Tommy Bartlett Story. It actually reminded me a lot of a good performance of Danse Macabre. The major difference, of course, was that this show was scripted (writen by the director and cast, which generally means that the show is based on improv) whereas the Danse is not. However, there was that same strange macabre weirdness about it that permeates the best Danse Macabre performances. I mean there's a giant murdering Humpty Dumpty egg for chrissake. The deaths are masterminded by a talking treasure-claw machine. I don't want to give too much away for those of you interested in seeing it. Suffice it to say, most of the cast dies by the end of the show.

The performances were generally very even. The actor who played Tommy Bartlett gave a nice larger-than-life performance, and the remainder of the cast played their parts very well. If I were more experienced as a theatre critic (it's my first time, so bear with me) I would employ better, more creative verbage. I also very much enjoyed Kyle Dolan's performance in the show as well, a: because he's a former improv teacher of mine and b: because he has a very weird Vincent Price on crack aire about him that suited the piece very well.

There were also many funny lines in the show and many funny moments. Occsionally there were moments that might have benefited from some judicial editing - some of the schtick went on a little too long at times - but all in all, some good funny.

My only regret is that in the end the plot lacked the weight to really make this a truly great show. The title would suggest that the show is about the story of Tommy Bartlett, but in the end it wasn't really about Tommy. For the majority of the show, Tommy just facilitated the murders. Only at the end do we see that character really come to life, but by then it's too late to fully develop him into someone that the audience can really latch on to. Ultimately, the show is more about comically bizarre murders and scattered pieces of funny than it about the story.

Luckily for Thunderpussy, those pieces of funny are enough to keep one entertained for about an hour and a half and, all in all, I'd recommend it for a good laught or two. Plus the drinks are decently priced.

If you're interested in the show, here's the info:

Thunderpussy: A Tommy Bartlett Story

Annoyance Theatre
4840 N. Broadway Chicago

What happens when two Icelandic cops, a Mexican drug lord and his handicapped wife, and a failed English gymnast and her psychic sister win an all-expenses paid trip to the Wisconsin Dells? Well, murder of course, as they come face-to-face with evil at a children's arcade.

Thru - Sep 21, 2007


Show Type: Comedy
Box Office: 773-561-4665