New American Folk Theatre

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Review: Trash

Published May 6, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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You’d have to book a flight to Tampa Bay to catch a sight of former burlesque queen Chesty Morgan, the star of Doris Wishman’s iconic exploitation spy films Deadly Weapons and Double Agent 73. Lucky Chicagoans, though, need only travel to Wicker Park’s Den Theatre to earn a glimpse of Jinx Malibu, the fictional empress diva featured in the Rocket Pussy films, in New American Folk Theatre’s Midwest premiere of Trash.

Playwright Johnny Drago’s take on the Anna Nicole legacy and Tennessee Williams’ classic The Glass Menagerie finds a celebrity blogger arriving on the garbage laden doorstep of the reclusive Malibu. There he discovers Loogie, Malibu’s underwear clad oldest son, the crotchety Othermomma, Malibu’s sarcastic, domineering mother, and Smudge, Malibu’s dreamy yet sheltered daughter. Mistaking him for a Hollywood producer, Malibu and her family act out her deluded version of a comeback film. The horrified blogger plans to escape with the adventure seeking Smudge in tow, but the violence that has been lurking between the cracks of Drago’s setup eventually erupts with one of the cast members, in a moment worthy of an ‘80s slasher flick, reenacting the circumstances of Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces”, in graphic detail, in Jinx’s front yard.

Thankfully, director Derek Van Barham, who is immeasurably assisted by Clint Greene’s layered scenic design, highlights both the humor and the tension inherent in the lurid reality show circumstances on display here. He is helped, as well, by Anthony Whitaker’s commanding take on Jinx. Whitaker brings a sympathetic edge to the character’s most garish demands and is never less than compelling when on stage. Nicely, the divine Caitlin Jackson, known for her powerhouse portrayals of such icons as Bette Midler and Bette Davis, is allowed to show a more sensitive and hopeful side as Smudge, the show’s one true ray of light, while Kirk Jackson brings a nice sense of physicality and puppy dog energy to Loogie. Meanwhile, Carrie Campana fills Othermomma with a wisecracking weariness, a nice balance to Jamal Howard’s (momentarily) enthusiastic writer.

Trash runs through May 15th at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee in Chicago. More information is available at www.newamericanfolktheatre.org.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Review: The Summer of Daisy Fay

Published August 6, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

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New American Folk Theatre’s charming production of The Summer of Daisy Fay, based on comedian-author Fannie Flag’s popular Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, ultimately, shows how far and how little we have come with concern to women’s rights and the equality of the GLBT community.

As played, subtly and enthusiastically, by the adorable Charlie Irving, Daisy Fay recounts her adventures under the charming Southern tutelage of an urbane gay man. It’s the late 50s and, as the show opens, Daisy Fay’s distinguished sponsor is putting the finishing touches on his pliable creation in anticipation of her competing in the upcoming Miss Mississippi Contest.daisy-fay-7822

Of course, Daisy Fay doesn’t find every recipient of small town masculinity quite so impressive. As bitterly recounted by Irving, the audience soon discovers that Daisy Fay’s dearest childhood friend has been the victim of a familial rape and is now indentured to her abusive father.

We, also, learn of how Daisy Fay helps a local businessman escape a raid at the local gay watering hole and eventually, in humorous detail, just exactly how her beauty crown ambitions play out.

Full of down home humor and hope, Daisy Fay, courtesy of Irving’s skilled commitment and playwright Ed Howard’s effective words, is eventually revealed to be the type of person that the world needs more of. Understanding and full of warm acceptance, this character would surely be mortified that, in contemporary society, women still must defend their right to proper birth control and that, despite major advances, that gay, lesbian and trans men and women (and their supporters) are still being attacked and murdered in the streets.

Lovingly directed by Anthony Whitaker, and produced in association with Redtwist Theatre, The Summer of Daisy Fay runs until August 17th at Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr in Chicago. Please visit http://www.newamericanfolktheatre.org for more information.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Sexy Witch, Dark Side of the Moon!

Published June 24, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

Acting like a witch isn’t always a bad thing – especially when you are talking about Charlie Irving and Aaron Cammack, the two versatile performers playing seductive witches in New American Folk Theatre’s Dark of the Moon. I, recently, had the chance to talk with this fabulously talented duo and I am still feeling beguiled and fascinatingly charmed!

Dark of the Moon runs until June 29th, 2014 at the Den Theatre in Chicago. More information is available at http://www.newamericanfolktheatre.org.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan