Theater Review: Aftermath/Breast in Show. By Brian Kirst
The amazing thing about the world of horror is how it is relevant in even theatrical projects non-related to the worlds of scare.
In the enjoyable improvised sensation “Breast in Show”, GayCo’s talented female division find some very real humor and poignancy in casual monologues about cleavage and cancer – and reveal the horrors of an Ellen DeGeneres gone wild in a particularly adventurous segment. Like an opening of an 80’s themed slasher, one of the bits also explores the ‘killing effects’ of a child’s game of hide and seek gone bad. And when a “boo!” makes momma turn up her heels in a death stance, you’ve not only got some good shock comedy, but perhaps a missed opportunity from early day John Carpenter, as well!
Signal Theatre Ensemble’s “Aftermath” explores the mind blowing destruction of drugs (taken to extreme by several adventurous horror projects including 1981’s semi-classic Strange Behavior) and includes a seductive version of “Sympathy for the Devil” which should have even those born scared of the horned one quickly rolling over and clicking up their toes in Luciferian welcome!
With typical musical biography weaknesses (not enough revealed about the primary subject and a seeming lack of focus, at points), this 90 minute piece is a truly enjoyable excursion backwards in time and features fresh and enjoyable performances, graced with a fine tuned comic sense, by it young and musically inclined cast (all members sing and play their own instruments).
Telling the tale of early days Rolling Stones and the influence that original, substance addled player Brian Jones had on their evolution – the tale ultimately comes off as more of a portrait of the rivalry between lead singer Mick Jagger and Jones than the promised deep exploration of Jones’ essence, but one cannot complain about the show’s incendiary energy and the obvious joy of the performers – including a cool and sexy Nick Vidal as Jagger with Bries Vannon, as Charlie Watts, providing many moments of quiet joy, as well. Joseph Stearns, meanwhile, makes up with finely tuned humor for what he lacks in animal mystique as a very jocular Keith Richards.
Breast in Show plays at Second City in Chicago until May 29th. www.gayco.com
Aftermath plays at the Raven Theatre in Chicago until June 6th. www.signalensemble.com