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ANDY’S HOUSE OF [BLANK] presented by Know Theatre of Cincinnati through Nov. 14. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
“Weird is extraordinary.” –Andy
Paul Strickland and Trey Tatum take their very enjoyable, diamond in the rough musical from SERIALS! 2: THUNDERDOME and polish it to a brilliant shine into this full-length, fully-staged production.
First and foremost, the show is funny. Throw-your-head-back and laugh-out-loud funny. Those familiar with Strickland’s fringe entries know he is quite the homespun-wisdom wordsmith. Partnering with musician and drinking-buddy Trey Tatum, the two have a created a quirky, genuine and touching musical with a sci-fi conceit.
Tatum and Strickland serve as narrators and portray teen-aged versions of themselves in the play. They also provide the musical accompaniment for the show, playing piano and guitar, respectively. The two have an easy chemistry and great rapport with each other and the audience.
Rounding out the cast are Erika Kate MacDonald & Christopher Michael Richardson, returning to the roles they originated.
MacDonald gives Sadie an emotionally-guarded quality that I feel works well for the character. I wouldn’t mind seeing Richardson a bit “bigger” on stage.
Richardson is fun as Andy, the “werido” owner of his ever-changing roadside attraction. He has a rich, powerful voice that easily fills the space. There were a couple of times I thought he might bust loose with his belt. He didn’t at the performance I attended, but I say if the spirit of the show moves you, go for it.
Director Bridget Leak keeps the show moving at a nice pace and makes good use of the small play area. Understanding her cast’s limitations, there is no choreography. The musical numbers are performed concert style and Trey’s solo work is limited. 🙂
For the Serials performances, the props were constructed out of cardboard. Scenic designer and charge Sarah Beth Hall has taken that concept to the nth degree, cluttering Andy’s shop with an amazing array of two- and three-dimensional objects.
For this production, technical director Nick Koehike has rebuilt the Underground stage, giving future performances a more versatile play space and smartly improving the sight lines at the same time. I also enjoyed how he incorporated cardboard into the set pieces.
The well-done lighting and sound design by Andrew Hungerford and Doug Borntrager added depth to the production.
Another great element for the show was Know partnering with local artists to creatively provide missives for the “Unmailed Love Letters” section of Andy’s shop. You can check them out near the windows before and after the show, and at intermission.
To recap: A throw-your-head-back, laugh-out-loud funny, quirky, genuine and touching little musical. Even if you caught ANDY’s original incarnation, the fully-realized production is definitely worth re-visiting.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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