Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hedwig and the Angry Inch - the Onyx Theatre, Saturday August 22, 2015

We first saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch as John Cameron Mitchell's movie due to friends ravin' about the live performance play that had run in Los Angeles. The flick is a fun, comedic take on Glitter Rock, drag queens, transsexuals, and lots more as it tells the tale of an East Berliner who was the victim of a botched sex-change surgery before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Not exactly standard comedic fare, but it is pulled off with great performances and some nice Bowie-esque rock'n'roll.

We saw one other live performance of this years ago here in Vegas (and can't remember what theater it was) with our friend Amy as Yitzhak, Hedwig's back-up singer and "husband". This evening Cory Benway was Hedwig, Jamie Riviere was Yitzhak, and the band consisted of Tom Chrastka on guitar, John Juhlman on bass, Jeremy Gill on drums and the program lists both Jonathan Tuala and Halsey Harkins on keys, though just one female was on stage playing.

Cory is fine actor as well as comedic drag queen and showed a terrific dramatic side as he told the story of Hedwig's life and loves and deftly moved back and forth into the other characters of the tale with different accents and gestures. He interacted with the audience, was quick with one-liners and had many topical quips that were certainly not part of the original production. There is definitely a Tim Curry influence in his performance and we later found out that he has played Frank N. Furter in the Rocky Horror Show.

Back-up singer Jamie has a spectacular voice and, although her part is much smaller than Benway's, she damn near stole the show with her talent. If she is not a professional performer already, she certainly should be. The band were all solid players, as well, and the songs were all given energetic readings, without getting too crazy for the theater crowd (the audience were mostly older folks, not a typical r'n'r crowd [though what is these days, I suppose] but they all appeared to enjoy the performance). I believe that the group purposely dressed down a bit to not detract from Benway, except for the huge feather piece that the drummer wore.

All in all, a good time and well worth checking out before the run ends next weekend.