REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

Rise of the Numberless

By Patriac Coakley, Evan Linder & Andrew Hobgoodrise of the numberless

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.”

rise of the numberless

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.

Not Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: April 24, 2012

For more info checkout the Rise of the Numberless page at

At Collaboraction Studio 300, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago,, tickets $20 -$25,  Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 & 10 pm, running time is 90 minutes without an intermission, through May 26, 2012

6 thoughts on “Rise of the Numberless

  • Predictable

    Who would have ever guessed that Tom Williams wouldn’t like a glam-rock show?! I’m shocked. If The New Colony and Bailiwick want to please Mr. Williams they should instead do a new musical about being cranky and eating pureed foods. If The New Colony and Bailiwick want to continue to development innovative new shows, I’d recommend they stay the course they’ve already set out on. A tip of my hat to this amazing collaboration.

  • I agree with Tom 100%.

  • I agree with Dale, and therefore Tom, 100%.

    ….and to the first reviewer, let’s discuss reviews, not people. Attacking on the personal level just shows you as the idiot you are.

  • If a show is reviewed negatively than that is THAT reviewers opinion….Re-acting negatively with personal attacks is immature and unproductive….so far ALL the other reviews on this show are leaning towards Mr. Williams original review so….he’s not the only Reviewer out there not liking or recommending this production…..

  • Often I think you miss the point of a production, Tom, and that sometimes you’re too quick to pooh-pooh a risk taking production. However, in this instance you are absolutely correct. This production is an absolute mess. It really is a shame as I also agree with you that New Colony is capable of much better work.

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