review

★★★★ Seductive but Squalid Prohibition-Era Debauchery

Paul Caira reviews The Wild Party at The Other Place

frances-ruffelle-as-queenie-and-john-owen-jones-as-burrs-in-the-wild-party-photo-credit-scott-rylanderThis show’s leading strength is its wonderful choreography, created by its brilliant young director, Drew McOnie who won an Olivier for his work on In the Heights, the hip-hop musical that led to Hamilton. This is followed at a respectable distance by the music, which is too intriguing to call catchy, and yet has a haunting angularity which, I suspect, makes it really grow. As for the plot, it is drawn, somewhat surprisingly, from an epic poem of the same title, and needn’t detain us long. Queenie is a blonde (or ‘Wazza Blonde’ in the title of the opening number) showgirl, bored with life with her sugar daddy co-star, and decides to throw a Wild Party. A bestiary of wild party animals materialises, behaves with bestiality (don’t get me wrong, there’s no actual bestiality, but most other tastes are catered for) and then there is an inevitable bloody aftermath.

the-cast-of-the-wild-party-photo-credit-scott-rylander-2Queenie herself is too much a cipher to hold much interest, but there are particular delights and quirks to be found in the other characters: Chief dancer Miss Madelaine True (the remarkably statuesque Tiffany Graves) and her frustrated relationship with the near-comatose Sally; the don’t-wannabe-Jews Gold and Goldberg, and perhaps most of all the ever-present Brothers D’Armano (Genesis Lynca and Gloria Obianyo), slinky cross-dressing twins, who are like a chorus to the main action, always moving in feline synchrony.

This is a mood piece rather than an intricate tale or a moral to convey, but the show very successfully conjures the atmosphere of seductive but squalid Prohibition-era debauchery, and has much to enjoy.

Paul Caira

The Wild Party plays at The Other Place until April 1st 2017


CAST

  • Frances Ruffelle
    Queenie
  • John Owen-Jones
    Burrs
  • Simon Thomas
    Black
  • Donna McKechnie
    Dolores
  • Dex Lee
    Jackie
  • Victoria Hamilton-Barritt
    Kate
  • Ako Mitchell
    Eddie
  • Gloria Obianyo
    D’armano Bros
  • Genesis Lynea
    D’armano Bros
  • Melanie Bright
    Sally
  • Lizzy Connelly
    Mae
  • Steven Serlin
    Goldberg
  • Sebastian Torkia
    Gold
  • Bronte Barbe
    Nadine
  • Tiffany Graves
    Madelaine

COMPANY

  • Michael John LaChiusa
    Music
  • Michael John LaChiusa
    Lyrics
  • George C. Wolfe
    Book
  • Michael John LaChiusa
    Book
  • Paul Taylor-Mills
    Producer
  • Drew McOnie
    Director
  • Drew McOnie
    Choreographer
  • Theo Jamieson
    Musical Director
  • Soutra Gilmour
    Costume
  • Richard Howell
    Lighting
  • Will Burton (casting director)
    Director

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