Eclectic Full Contact Theatre creates a night of unashamed laughs and a not-so-shy nudge at vulnerability with their production of NAKED BOYS SINGING! The gimmick, if you want to oversimplify it, is that all the cast members are naked. The title does not lie. These are naked boys singing. If you want nudity and comedy, you will find it here. If you want all of that plus some beautiful and resonant moments, you will be overjoyed by what you find. It is basically the perfect way to begin a summer evening in Chicago, especially during Pride month.
Eclectic Full Contact creates a musical journey through life
This musical revue has no big story arc to tell. Rather, it tells multiple stories of varying journeys through life and the specific ways a person may react to them. In the brief 85-minute song cycle, the subjects covered range from adolescence and puberty to finding love and sex as an adult. However, in order to keep things wonderfully light and delightful, it also touches on masturbation and all the multitudes of ways to refer to the male sex organ.
Danny Bradley embodies multiple characters filled with glee and pleasure. His rendition of “The Naked Maid” fills the audience with the euphoria he clearly feels performing his domestic duties. Later, we are given a similarly delightful experience with his performance of “Perky Porn Star.” These song titles definitely speak for themselves, but they are even more entertaining and witty than they sound.
Wesley Dean Tucker has a boyish innocence that is charming and endearing. He gives a standout performance of a song about a connection between himself and a man with whom he has never spoken a word. They see each other through their open windows and watch each other undress on a nightly basis. Somehow this song, although being one of the few that involves a fully dressed cast member, encompasses the scariest parts of being vulnerable and open.
BRAVERY AND COMPLETE OPENNESS
Director David Belew has cultivated a group of actors who not only seem to be completely comfortable within their own skin but have become comfortable in the collective skin of the group itself. If these men were strangers coming into this project, they will most likely not be ever again. There are moments in the show where they use their own bodies as musical instruments, which snowballs into using each other in the same way. There is a palpable sense of brotherhood on the stage.
An actor often exposes himself emotionally on stage. It is not often, however, that he literally exposes himself on stage physically at the same time. These six men exude a bravery and complete lack of self-consciousness that leaves the audience awestruck. Not only are they showing complete vulnerability through the emotional journey of each character, but it is done entirely through song. Combine public speaking, singing in front of an audience and being completely naked and you have the makings of the average person’s nightmare. This brilliant team of men seem to thrive in the face of what most people fear.
The show leaves the audience wishing and hoping that the entire cast will end up at a local bar talking and laughing and hoping they could join them. It is an engaging and enthralling evening of theatre that keeps the audience captivated.
Photos by Katherine Siegel
Top Pick For: Musical Comedy Lovers and LGBT Community
Not recommended for: Children
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
June 9 - July 1, 2017
Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00PM
Sundays at 2:00PM
*Saturday June 24 and Saturday July 1 will have an additional performance at 2:00PM
1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Online at www.eclectic-theatre.com
Recommended for ages 18+ due to strong language and nudity
Note: An Excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago.