Nostalgia and playful teasing of the Catholic church collide in this energetic production of ALTAR BOYZ. The playfulness of boy band pop music is the backdrop of this satire of the Catholic church’s never ending effort to lure young people into their world.
POP CONCERT AS THEATRE
The show is a mock concert by a fictitious Christian boy band. It is not your usual narrative musical. The audience is taken song to song as the band tries to save the souls of each audience member. Each song, whose title conveniently covers up the delightful jokes hidden within, illustrates and lovingly pokes fun at both the boy band genre and the Christian faith. You will find a hip hop song that tells the story of Jesus turning water into wine, as well as a beautiful love song about the desire to not have premarital sex.
The show has a similar format as HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, as a point of reference for musical theatre fans.
Anyone who has ever seen a boy band perform knows a lot of the enjoyment rides on the quality of the choreography. Sawyer Smith has designed dancing that is able to be performed by five grown men on a tiny stage and still embody the feel of a real concert. Even if the rest of the show were lacking in merit, which it is not, the choreography is worth the price of admission.
Just like a regular pop concert, the audience cheers and becomes involved as much as possible. This is not your typical “sit back and relax” kind of musical. The small cabaret venue always keeps the audience inside the action of the show. This is no different. The audience is essentially a character in this show.
THEO UBIQUE CREATES AN ENERGETIC ENSEMBLE
Just like a real boy band, the performance lives and dies by the strength of the ensemble. Every member of the cast is forced to sing, dance like crazy and be hilarious. If there were a weak link, it would stand out.
Each stereotype one finds in a boy band is represented. Max DeTogne gives a lovable performance as the band’s leader. Frankie Leo Bennett is completely adorable and charming as the closeted gay character secretly in love with the band’s leader. Steven Romero Schaeffer shines in the comedic role as the only Jewish member of this Christian boy band.
Photos by Cody Jolly
Top Pick For: Those Who Grew Up Catholic and perhaps are not anymore
Not recommended for: Strictly Traditional Theatre Lovers
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.
December 1, 2017 - January 14, 2018
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00PM
Sundays at 7:00PM
*No performance Christmas Eve
No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago
Online at Theo Ubique
By phone at 800-595-4849
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago.