New American Folk Theatre’s production of Johnny Drago’s Hot Pink, Or Ready to Blow is campy, over-the-top, wacky, hilarious at times, and fiercely entertaining. This is Clueless meets Sixteen Candles with one important twist—it’s the girls dying to get laid this time, not the guys!
Two components make this show a real yummy treat: comic relief and a gorgeously vivid production that celebrates everything we love about the ‘80s—nerds and jocks at odds, overzealous gym teachers, big hair, devastating crushes, and bad boys (the character Bangs, in this case female—another twist—played exuberantly by Caitlin Jackson).
Delivered through the lens of Drago’s tawdry humor, the jokes in Hot Pink are corny and, at times, veer to the non-politically correct, much to the audience’s delight. Gender-bending characters—such as Anthony Whitaker as the boozing Mother and Will Kazda as Brace Face, the obnoxious girl with braids—bring out audience laughter throughout. When Kazda slipped chameleon-like into the character of Bruce, the secretly gay jazz hands aficionado, we could hardly recognize him. In similar fashion, Elise Marie Davis transitioned brilliantly from Coach Dykeman to a robotic, futuristic tour guide. Hot Pink’s sexual innuendos were equally tasty. Like cotton candy, Hot Pink is a guilty pleasure to devour contentedly.
New American Folk Theatre Delivers Strong on Comedy and Feminist Uproar
A goofy, ‘80s’ style sex plot, and stereotypical, zany comedy did not veer Hot Pink off course—to deliver a poignant feminist message. [Spoiler Alert] Jackson sums it up when she confronts the show’s protagonists—three totally 80’s teenagers—about their true motives in hunting down male prey. “You think you need a man to complete you?” she asks. Without giving away the show’s climatic ending, the teenage girls learn the most important thing they need, as women, to complete them. Mixing serious with goofball, New American Folk Theatre relies on excellent comic timing and a magical imaginary world to show us Americans not only who we are, but where we are going.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago
Derek Van Barham
Elise Marie Davis
G. "Max" Maxin IV
Mary Kate Mc Alpine
Thru Saturday, April 7, 2018
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm
Sundays at 6 pm.
The Den Theatre (2A)
1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Originally from Chicago, Marla Seidell has lived in Amsterdam, Washington D.C., and Olympia, WA and has traveled extensively in Italy, Greece, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Israel. Marla graduated from Hofstra University and received her master’s degree from the University of Amsterdam, where she was a Fulbright Scholar. Her writing credits include The Daily Herald, New York Post, and Timeout Chicago. She has been fortunate enough to be acting for over eight years, and has performed in over 30 short and feature films. She was nominated for Best Actress for playing dual roles in the award-winning film, Be Your Woman, at the 2015 Laugh or Die Comedy Film Festival.