Chicago Theatre Review
Celebrating with Beer and Insults
By Lazlo Collins
In this day and age of television reality madness, The Factory Theater’s “White Trash Wedding and a Funeral” could be an episode for Bravo, right after “Hillbilly Handfishing”. Because this type of extreme dysfunctional family farce is played out on the small screen daily, this time around it may be less funny then originally written in 1995.
The stereotypes, the drunkenness, the language while always a bit shocking at first, wears thin in this fast passed, no holds barred, parody of life anywhere else than where YOU live.
The magic happens at the local VFW hall, where the wedding will take place. As the belching and farting begin, the insults are fast and furious with no one spared by cupid’s drunken arrow, or your neighbor’s barbed tongue.
This 70 minute, no intermission, ensemble piece starts out at the gate and never lets up. Whether uncomfortable grin or rolling eye chuckle, I did smile the whole time. It is not as inspirational, as it a pageant of dysfunction unfolding right in front of you. But I think that is exactly the point of this in your face farce.
The overall high energy and cast chemistry make the most of the dated script. Some notable comedy stand outs were Timothy Amos as “Walt”, Robyn Coffin as “Aunt Shirley”, Jordan Hoisington as “Lonnie”, Shannon O’Neill as “Connie” and the perennial drag favorite Ed Jones as “Bernice”.
Director Scott OKen keeps the cast hopping through crisis after crisis, and while this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, or should I say, can of beer; there are some genuine laughs. Anytime anyone got hit or punched, the sound effect behind the bar made me laugh. And not being a fan of the chicken dance myself, I enjoyed the idea of someone actually dying from doing the dance too much.
I appreciate the announcement before the show, warning any unsuspecting patron that this will not be a high cultural experience; but rather, a no holds bar reality show romp. Have a beer or two while you are there, it will surely help you get in the mood for a wedding and funeral all in one night.
“White Trash Wedding and a Funeral” runs through 2 June 2012 at the Prop Theater. Thefactorytheater.com or 866-811-4111 for tickets.