Refuge Theatre Project Presents THINGS TO RUIN: THE SONGS OF JOE ICONIS Review – In Your Face In the Best Way

Refuge Theatre - THINGS TO RUIN
Kedgrick Pullums Jr., Thomas Squires, Jeff Meyer

Refuge Theatre Project continues its streak of unique theatrical experiences with their production of THINGS TO RUIN: THE SONGS OF JOE ICONIS. The show begins in your face and never lets up. At no point will you want it to.

Refuge Theatre - THINGS TO RUIN
Deanalis Resto, Thomas Squires


A young musical theater composer named Joe Iconis is criminally under-recognized. This “theatrical rock concert” is a collection of just some of his vast catalogue. This 35-year-old has already made a name for himself among the theatre elite, while most of the population remains unaware of him. This show is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to his witty and fiery words. The lyrics are brilliantly casual but dive deep into the most universal emotions every person has experienced. The songs will cut deep into your memories, bringing an outpouring of emotions. While doing all of that, it will still make you laugh.


Refuge Theatre - THINGS TO RUIN
Kedgrick Pullums Jr., Jeff Meyer, Thomas Squires
Refuge Theatre - THINGS TO RUIN
Madison Kauffman

If you are both a musical theatre fan and music fanatic, this is the show for you to see. Although rock musicals include rock music, no other show in recent memory has moved directly from song to song so seamlessly that it captures the feel of a live rock event. The venue itself, Exit Chicago “Chicago’s Original Punk Bar since 1981,” is a haven for music lovers. The tiny space allows for the feeling of the music and stomping of the casts’ feet to be felt in the plastic cups of whiskey you should definitely be drinking. A times, there will be cast members behind you. The shadows they cast over their ensemble-mates provide an awe-inspiring depth to the songs being sung.


The cast consists of seven strong performers that never disappoint. Madison Kauffman has exceptional comedic timing and a voice that matches its heights. Deanalis Resto has a realness and range of talent that any actor would envy. Her funny and touching performance of “Asleep on My Arm” alone is worth becoming one of the few audience members this intimate space allows. Matt Dominguez, the director of this impressive group of performers, has successfully created the feeling of what we all hope a night out at a bar would be like if we had such talented and fun friends.

If you prefer to be a passive audience member, this show is not for you. For those of you looking for a fun and constantly entertaining start to an evening of potential debauchery, grab a whiskey and join this group of young performers for an explosive piece of theatre.

Photos by Zeke Dolezalek

Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.


Top Pick For: Music Lovers
Not recommended for: Those looking for a traditional night of musical theatre


May 12 - June 18, 2017
Friday/Saturday/Sunday Doors at 6:30PM; Show at 7:30PM


Exit Chicago
1315 W. North Ave., Chicago



Online at

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

Jeff Meyer

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