Refuge Theatre Project’s production of the musical High Fidelity has found a way to successfully combine attending theatre with a party. While you may have been to lively theatre performances, this is truly a party. Audience members drink six-packs of PBR, pop champagne and have an absolute blast. It is so successful that nobody in the audience seems to want to leave once the show is complete. The curtain call ends, the band stops playing, but the party continues.
The story revolves around Rob and his crumbling relationship with Laura. He examines why the relationship is ending and why he feels he is doomed to be alone. Rob owns a record store inhabited by music-loving employees and music-obsessed customers. Much of what he expresses comes out through the music he loves.
The score, written by Tom Kitt and Amanda Green, is a perfect complement to the story. It’s full of wonderfully brash and funny lyrics that perfectly match up with the characters.
Refuge Theatre Project puts us in a record store
Since the majority of the action takes place inside a record store, why not have the show, as well as the audience, inside a record store? Refuge Theatre Project has created a space they have dubbed “Refuge Records” for the run of the show. It is notable, also, that the performance space is in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood where the 2000 film of the same name takes place. This adds another layer to this perfect setting.
Talent Bigger Than This Small Space
The cast works so well together that it would not be a surprise to see them all out together having drinks. The charmingly small space allows each cast member’s talent to explode. A notable stand-out is Caitlin Jackson as Liz, a friend to both Rob and Laura through the break-up. Since it’s a supporting role, she tragically only really has one great song, but it’s enough to make her presence known. The singing talent of the entire cast is stellar and because of the cozy quarters, the sound quality is fantastic. It feels like this is how High Fidelity was always meant to be seen.
All Photos by Laura Leigh Smith
Top Pick For: Music lovers and anyone who has ever been through a break-up -- basically everyone.
Not recommended for: The humorless
Runs January 27, 2017 through March 25, 2017
Thursday through Sunday at 8:00PM
(2 Mondays 2/6 and 2/20 at 8:00PM)
1415 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago
Online at www.refugetheatre.com
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago.