Residing somewhere between musical and straight play is this refreshing and incredibly entertaining production of 33 TO NOTHING. If you like music or have ever had a complicated relationship with friends or lovers (basically if you’re a human being) you will find joy in this beautifully written show - as this writer certainly did.
FLY ON THE WALL OF A BAND REHEARSAL
The show takes place in real time at a band rehearsal. Between songs, we learn of the complex and long lasting relationships between the members. As more information is revealed through highly realistic and witty dialogue, the audience is taken into the band’s world with literally zero boundaries.
The small A Red Orchid Theatre - with three small rows wrapping around the performance space - is a perfect venue for this production as it takes place almost entirely inside a rehearsal space. The set is comprised of music equipment, worn out rugs and an obviously well worn-in couch. Captivating moments of intimacy between characters or moments of reflection on one’s own both jut directly into the audience space without being intrusive. It feels both close but not in your face all at once.
A RED ORCHID THEATRE ILLUSTRATES THE POWER OF MUSIC
The original music performed by the cast is reason enough to see this show. Even if the show were lacking in some way, which it is certainly not, Grant James Varjas’s music is worth the price of admission. The songs range from lovely, insightful ballads to upbeat, high-energy rock. You will walk out wanting to purchase to music.
What makes this mixture of story and song so effective is the interaction of the characters within the performance of the music. Although we learn actual facts through dialogue just like any other play, if all of that were taken out, the audience would still be clued into the relationships these characters have between each other. It is stunning to watch. Varjas, as both playwright and composer has a penetrating viewpoint on this universal human experience of fading friendship and love.
A CAST FULL OF TALENT
This small cast of highly talented actors and musicians deserves every accolade they will undoubtedly receive. Aaron Holland walks a fine line between hilarious and devastating as the band’s leader. Just as any friend who is having a rough time, he endears as well as pushes away. Steve Haggard completely owns his role as a man hurt by someone he loves. The subtle and heartbreaking reactions he has to his former lover singing about their relationship are unbelievably relatable to anyone who has been there. Annie Prichard has an intensity in her performance that is remarkable. She is both forceful and vulnerable and does both with grace and flawless timing.
Top Pick For: Fans of shows like HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
Not recommended for: People that want a quiet night of theatre
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.
Through May 27, 2018
Thursdays at 8pm
Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm
Sundays at 3pm