Music by Chris Gingrich & Julie B. Nichols
Lyrics by Chris Gingrich & Andrew Hobgood
Directed by Andrew Hobgood
Music direction by Julie B. Nichols
Produced by Bailiwick Chicago & The New Colony
At Collaboraction Studio 300, Chicago
Cliche-ridden, noisy punk rock musical long on screaming short on original story
Over the last few years both Bailiwick Chicago and The New Colony have produced outstanding shows worthy of an audience but I’m stretched to find anything stage worthy in their latest co-produced show - Rise of The Numberless. This 90 minute one-act musical features 11 mind-numbing screaming punk rock songs performed so loud as to be overwhelming.
The story: “It is the semi-centennial anniversary of One Child, One Nation; a law enacted by the Department of Numbers to curb overpopulation, nationwide starvation, riots and unhealthy living conditions. Citizens are now limited to one child per family; all of whom are “numbered” and monitored by the U.S. Number Patrol. Those who do not obey this law must live the life of a fugitive in order to protect their Numberless children.”
Formatted as a play-within-a play, the cast members are both participants as Numberless and sympathizers with them. The plot is cliched, trite and predictable – a contemporary “Mad Max” style rock fantasy. The players are manic, hyper sensitive and over-the-top; the singing consists of screaming and mind-numbing garbled harmonies. I’m can’t find anything artistic or stage worthy to justify spending $20 -$25 and 90 minutes of your time attending Rise of the Numberless. The opening night audience, packed with friends of the cast and crew, were noticeably lacking in applause and enthusiasm. Upon leaving the theatre, I heard a 20something audience member say: “I love punk rock music,but this music was terrible – what a waste of time!” Talented performers such as Ryan Lanning, Eric Martin and Harmony France were wasted in this wretched show. I’m guessing that some cast members enjoyed “playing’ at being a rock star – why else would they be in a show so poorly designed? When you’re offered the use of earplugs upon entrance to a show, be warned that it will challenge your toleration of pop music. I’m amazed that two creative theatre companies such as Bailiwick Chicago and The New Colony would mount such a tedious show.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: April 24, 2012
For more info checkout the Rise of the Numberless page at theatreinchicago.com
At Collaboraction Studio 300, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, www.thenewcolony.org, tickets $20 -$25, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 & 10 pm, running time is 90 minutes without an intermission, through May 26, 2012