Archikulture Digest

Lay Ms.

Lay Ms.

By Brain Rewis

Directed by Tara Rewis

Starring Jake Mullen, Jamaal Solomon, and Krystal Gillette

Charade Theater Company

Silver Venue, 2015 Orlando Fringe Festival

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This commentray is based on a technical preview. You milage may vary.

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There’s a lot of furniture moving in this freshman show from local writer Brian Rewis. You may know this story as a novel by Victor Hugo or a stage show by Alain Boublil or maybe a movie with Hugh Jackman trying really hard to sing like a French prisoner. This is a modern retelling of Les Misérables with gays and Christians and Stonewall filling in for that obscure failed revolution in jolly Old Paris. Johnny Val Johnson (Jake Mullen) is out of the gay slammer; his crime was wearing a dress. Now he’s on probation but still hounded by the Christian Cop JaBear (Solomon). A kindly silversmith (Brett Carson) makes Val Johnson a loan and a few scenes later he’s running a popular club. Here he agrees to help a young woman’s sister (Gillette) after her mom died from a combo crab and syphilis sandwich. Val Johnson finds the daughter at the iconic bondage club where Amanda Pierre and a draggy Rob DelMedico sing the peppy “Master’s House” while most of the sex club hardware in town is exercised. You can’t miss Jay Glass here; he’s in a pink body suit looking exactly like bubble gum filled tick. Eventually the action moves to the Stone Wall Riots; here Epoonany (Tara Rewis) is drafted into making mob-based porn. She does an amazing job singing operatic arias while simulating sex and hanging upside down. I tell you, Orlando is PACKED with talent. As the show winds down, there’s a surprisingly heartfelt “Empty Stalls, Empty Bathrooms” bemoaning the end of THE Stonewall scene. It brought a tear to my jaded eye even as I stifled a laugh. While the extensive set changes slow down the pacing the music was superb and well crafted. I’ll assign these lags to the fact this is a tech preview; hopefully things will speed up by the time you take a seat.

This show was part of the 2015 Orlando Fringe Festival. Information on tickets and times may be found at www.OrlandoFringe.org.


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