Chicago Theatre Review

Chicago Theatre Review

An Absurdist Gay Porn Dance Pop Musical

August 16, 2015 Reviews No Comments

Stanley in the Name of Love – New Colony

 

“In the beginning there was nothing. And it was boring.” So begins this original, madcap musical that explores a futuristic environment filled with desolation and loneliness. Suddenly bright lights flood the stage as a pulsating musical score gets the show on the road. Three garish Guardian Angels, creatively costumed by Curtis Cassell in spandex, glitter and chiffon, serve as our flamboyant musical emcees and become a kind of gay Greek chorus for the story that lies ahead. These sassy queens possess the voices, moves and exquisite physiques suitably befitting such all-powerful celestial deities.

Then we meet Stanley, as portrayed by Steve Love. Mr. Love is a multitalented performer, who’s been featured in so many recent Hell in a Handbag productions (he was last seen as Helen Stellar, the young deaf-blind drag queen, in Handbag’s moving and hilarious production of “Miracle”). In this show, another New Colony world premier for get-attachment-1.aspx(7)which this company is famous, Mr. Love is on stage for almost the entire 85-minutes. During that time, he gets to showcase his impressive array of acting, singing and choreographic skills. He fully brings to life the charmingly sweet, naive Stanley, leading him on a journey through an apocalyptic future world where, it’s believed by scientists, love no longer exists. Accompanied by Harriet, a Raggedy Ann costumed-and-wigged fag hag, played with resolve and sincere affection by Christina Boucher, Stanley searches for a place where true love still lives.

Reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, Stanley encounters and passes through a variety of doors, ultimately taking him from his trailer park home to a studio someplace, where gay pornographic films are created. It’s in this exciting, unfamiliar new environment that Stanley meets Burt, a snarky, enigmatic Mad Hatter-like film producer, and his surly, porn star stud and lover, Rod Fullalove. Through a myriad of crazy, campy, musical scenes, Stanley falls for, gets the guy, loses the guy and then wins him back again.

This is a very unconventional, almost inexplicable show, directed and choreographed with festive spirit by Sean Kelly and written by a Mr. Margaret Svetlove (Sean Kelly’s playwright pseudonym). It features a pumped-up score of catchy, enjoyable songs, with high-energy, techno dance breaks (choreographically assisted by Jeannine Stupka), composed and performed on a prerecorded track by The Delicious Moons (comprised of Kelly, Nickolas Blazina, Henry Riggs and Alex Kliner). The score is both sung live and lip-synced by the talented cast. The set is simply an empty room framed by black draperies and featuring a multicolored floor (by Zachary Gipson). It’s lit by John Kelly and Cody Ryan, effectively defining the musical’s multiple locales.

David Cerda, usually donning a Joan Crawford persona for his popular Hell in a Handbag productions, makes a get-attachment.aspx(9)handsome, but resentfully realistic Burt. His commanding confrontations with both Stanley and Rod showcase this versatile actor’s talent at both drama and comedy. Michael Peters, a cofounder of The New Colony, as well as a distinguished, Jeff Award-winning Chicago actor-around-town, creates a powerful, macho character in Rod. Clad simply in a black dressing gown (and little else), Mr. Peters makes a sexy, yet formidable love interest for Stanley. In a very funny, but sensual dueling penis scene, both Peters and Love actually emerge as victors. The three Angels, played by Luke Michael Grimes, Jeff Meyer and Chris Tuttle, form a kind of metasexual 60’s girl group. They’re individually and collectively talented, both in their characterizations and in their musicality, but it’s their graceful, athletic dance ability that’s truly impressive and keeps these boys in constant, poetic motion.

The subtitle says it all. This futuristic fantasy is an absurd, but thought-provoking pop musical. While there’s no nudity, it’s highlighted by graphic language, adult situations and plot developments, filled with wild abandon and flavored by a score of infectious techno dance music. All of this is brought to life by a talented cast and a devoted director, truly committed to sharing their story of optimism and dreams coming true within a frightening, nightmarish and unfriendly world.

Recommended

Reviewed by Colin Douglas

 

Presented The New Colony at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago.

Tickets are available by calling the box office at 773-398-7028 or by going to www.thenewcolony.org.

Additional information about this and other area productions can be found by visiting www.theatreinchicago.com.

 


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