Pride Films and Plays Presents FLIES! THE MUSICAL! Review – Camp City

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.

Joey Fantanetta (Young'un 1) and Ryan Armstrong (Young'un 2) Photo: Paul Goyette

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.

Nicky Mendelsohn (Stephen) Photo: Paul Goyette

“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.

Somewhat Recommended

The company of Flies! The Musical! Photo: Paul Goyette

When

May 13th- June 10th
Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 5:00 pm
Sundays at 3 pm

Where

The Broadway Pride Arts Center
4139 N Broadway
Chicago, IL

Cast

Ryan Armstrong
Jayla Williams Craig
Joey Fontanetta
Nicky Mendelsohn
Jeff Meyer
Christea Parent
Billy Rude
Missy Wise

Tickets

$20-$25

Pride Films and Plays Website

773-857-0222

Photos

Paul Goyette

Creative

Larry Todd Cousineau
J.D. Caudill
Cindy O'Connor
Michael Driscoll
Sawyer Smith
Jordan Kardasz
Jamie Karas
Michael Starcher
Anna Zerwer

 

Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago

NATE HALL
Nate Hall Photo: Jeff Day

About the Author

Nate is an actor/composer/playwright currently based in Chicago, and originally from Los Alamos, New Mexico. He is the first graduate of Texas Tech's BFA Musical Theatre program, and has been acting for over six years, performing in the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival and Santa Fe Musical Festival, among others. His plays have been featured in one act/ten-minute play festivals, and his musical Fade Out had it's first reading in December 2017.

See his current work at actornatehall.wordpress.com or on Facebook

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