Written and performed by Patrick McCartney (From Cold Lake, Elf, Conan O’Brien), Sinister Kid explores mental illness, trauma and addiction with humor and absolute truth. This deeply personal solo show starts with the death of McCartney’s mother and becomes an exploration of his alcoholism and heroin addiction, all the while taking the audience through his journey to reconnect with his mom. McCartney also shares the stage with violinist Mae Roney, whose music provides color and texture to the piece, and the show is directed by Shira Piven (Welcome to Me, Transparent).
Queen of Hearts, currently playing through November 2, is everything I’ve come to expect from a Company XIV show, in the best way possible. Whenever I hear that Company XIV has a new show, I expect a stage filled with sexy people doing high kicks, acrobatics, and inventive covers of my favorite pop songs. It’s a few hours of escape from the real world into one of decadence and light-hearted debauchery. Queen of Hearts was all of it, but there was something more this time around that I wasn’t expecting.
A Modest Proposal, which played January 25 thru 27 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, imagines a dystopian future where a totalitarian government has taken extreme measures to curb the population. The ruling political party stays in power by feeding the population an unending stream of cheery propaganda, extolling the virtues of figurehead Dr. Swift (Adam Foldes). Swift is credited with shaping the new world order, one that revolves around firmly maintaining births and deaths. Any addition needs a subtraction, so the government encourages people to commit suicide at a convenient facility. Grandparents do it to make room for their grandchildren. Others do it to serve the greater good. Some do it because they can’t stand the thought of living in this world anymore.
Don’t Feed the Indians, which opened November 3 at La MaMa’s Downstairs Theatre, is an examination of Native American character tropes and stereotypes through a series of vignettes. Some of the vignettes are comedic, taking on Pocahontas with a Keeping Up With the Kardashians-style reality show and recreating Native American carnival shows. Other segments veer into harsher realities, like a character recounting an academic accomplishment from his school days and the vicious sexual assault that followed.
Glassheart opened October 20 at the Access Theater, located at 380 Broadway. Tickets start at $5 with the “Five at $5” deal and are available for purchase in advance online here.
“In the empty living room of a shabby apartment, a Beast is crying. There is just enough light to see that he is monstrous, and clutching something precious to him.”
Aliens Coming, a new musical at the Peoples Improv Theater, is a comedic take on low-budget sci-fi movies with a blatant naughty streak. The plot is pulled from some of the best/worst episodes of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 with some modern touches, and it centers on two teenage girls, Brandi and Clementine, who are about to graduate from high school. They have been best friends since they were kids, but Clementine’s interest in art (and the “cool art kids” culture) is pulling them in different directions. When Brandi is abducted, however, Clementine sets out to save Brandi and the world’s genitals from a prudish alien race. Along the way, Clementine finds herself and loses her virginity, and Brandi becomes a YouTube make-up tutorial star. Really, it’s a typical coming-of-age tale of friendship and following your dreams. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
Soot and Spit, playing at the New Ohio Theatre through June 17, is a celebration of artist James Castle. He was born deaf and autistic, and in his lifetime, he developed a distinctive artistic style using found objects, drawing tools he created, and a mix of soot and spit.
Piehole’s Ski End, now playing at the New Ohio Theatre, has big ambitions. According to a note published in the program, the show is meant to explore “economic and environmental dread” and provide a “thoughtful alternative to the noise” of the current political climate. Lofty goals and admirable ones in this time, but are they successful?
Praise Avril Lavigne! Pop Punk High – a musical tribute to pizza, skateboarding, Battle of the Bands, and parents who “just don’t get it” – is getting extended at the PIT Loft.
Pop Punk High opened March 3 at The PIT Loft, located at 154 West 29th Street. General admission tickets are $7 and are available for purchase in advance online here, and student tickets are $1 at the door with valid student ID.