Flies! The Musical! is a story about a group of drama nerds putting on their P.E. teacher’s musical, with a plot loosely based on the famous novel, Lord of the Flies. However, one does not need to have read the book to enjoy this production. In this viewer’s humble opinion, the writing has several flaws that stand out roles and amazing puppetry do not quite overcome. Several characters are written as dated archetypes, and the hilarity of the self-referential nature of the play eventually becomes tedious. However, those looking for that hardcore campiness will find this production entertaining.
Lord of the *Copywright Violation*
The ensemble informs us at the top of the show of the play’s setting: an abandoned park, and unlike the novel that inspired it, no one dies, and the cast is not all male. What the audience is left to anticipate is instead how this group of theatre nerds devolves into the very carnivorous and carnal cohort that the novel depicts. Instead of a tough moral decision about whether or not to be become cannibals, the moral quandary centers around, for example, whether or not to break into an old vending machine for temporary sustenance.
Pride Films and Plays Makes the Everyday Fantastical
As you enter the looming and intimate Pride Arts Center theatre space, your skin may start to crawl as the all too familiar sound of cicadas and crickets reverberates in the night air. A plastic bag wavers in twisted leafless branches. Boarded-up park signs, ominous piano chords and droning tribal horns set the tone. A true gem of Flies! is its puppetry, designed with whimsy by Adam McAleavey. The audience is treated to a sassy racoon cheering us on, who is slowly joined by an enormous cartoon deer, a boar, and two flapping birds, operated individually by the ensemble. Another later song is sung primarily by a talking rotten takeout box, filled with barbeque pork and flanked by two other boxes with chinese food. The puppetry was an unexpected, but welcome addition to an already technically sound production.
“We’ll Explain that Part Later…”
Perhaps the most obvious facet of this production is it’s metatheatrical nature.. For the entirety of the show, the characters are quite aware of being in a musical, and make jabs at the genre. Missy Wise’s character, Pigtails, even stops singing in the middle of her song upon realizing that the melody is too high for her, and she promptly requests that the pianist lower the key to a more comfortable place. The show leans into camp extremely hard, and stands firmly in that identity, which is an impressive feat. This is unapologetically theatre about theatre, and fans of Title of Show, Merrily We Roll Along, Noises Off, and Off-Broadway musical parodies will feel right at home with this production.
May 13th- June 10th
Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 5:00 pm
Sundays at 3 pm
The Broadway Pride Arts Center
4139 N Broadway
Jayla Williams Craig