Hedwig and The Angry Inch
Hedwig and The Angry Inch
Book by John Cameron Mitchell
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Trask
Directed by Bruce Ryan Costella
Musical Direction by Spencer Croswell
With Joshua Eads-Brown and Janine Klein
In The Wings Productions at The Abbey
Damn, this show has some great rock and roll! And between the smashing chords and cynical lyrics there’s this weird, heartwarming story about love and mutilation and escape, and there’s a disconnect between the two that builds you up and tears you down like the Berlin Wall. We sit in a in a seedy cabaret with overly bright LED lighting and it might be Orlando or maybe Junction City, Kansas but it doesn’t really matter. We meet the outrageous Hedwig Robinson, a slip of a girlyboy who grew up in East Berlin listening to pop tunes on Armed Forces Radio. He meets Luther, a service man with flexible preferences and a willingness to marry him out of communism, but Hedwig ends up in divorced in Kansas with a botched sex change and a cheap beige wig. He turns to the music he loves and that’s how we end up in The Abbey tonight. Along with his backup band “The Angry Inch” we meet his “husband” Yitzhak (Klein). Their relation is strained and infused with jealousy and arbitrary meanness. While he’s jealous of Yitzhak, he’s even angrier at his more successful protégé Tommy Gnosis playing a bigger venue down the street.
There’s a disconnect between the kicking rock and the more leisurely paced monolog. When the band played I was ready to burn down the house, but the air fell out of the room during the leisurely monologs. Eads-Brown’s delivery wasn’t to blame; he’s made for the part and has both vocal skill and the emotional intensity to make Hedwig real. His entry costume was great; with its American flag them and beehive hairdo he looked like Evel Knievel after he failed to jump the Aquanet factory. Klein’s Yitzhak looks incredibly masculine; I knew it was her up there in that leather jacket and biker doo rag, but I wasn’t positive until she came out in her black velvet ball gown.
Behind the show is a solid four piece band led by Spencer Croswell, and every tune sounded great from “Wig In A Box” to the audience favorite “Origin of Love.” There were a few technical problems, the opening song lighting seemed frozen and Eads-Brown ran around the stage in the dark. Maybe a bad cable, maybe some bad programming, but by the second song the lights were moving and jumping, and Eads-Brown got the follow spot he deserves. If you can find parking, this is a receptacle Hedwig but not a great Hedwig. It needs tighter direction: the talent is there but not used to best effect.
For more information on In The Wings, visit http://www.inthewings.org
For other events at The Abbey, visit http://abbeyorlando.com</em>