Sunday, May 09, 2010

Bloody entertaining

I went to to the Public last night and caught up with Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, the bawdy, raunchy, nutso, etc. rock-and-roll history lesson that's evidently triggered a minor sensation, given that a fair amount of repeat groupies were in the audience. (Or maybe it was an audience of historians, happy to see one of our nation builders enshrined in the pop culture vortex.) Shows like this are hard to sustain for a full 90 minutes, but this one crosses the finish line without too much gasping and panting, thanks to a game-for-anything cast that knows exactly how long to stretch a joke, a book that offers genuinely funny situations worth stretching, and very catchy music. (The book, by Alex Timbers, and music, by Michael Friedman, are up for Drama Desk awards.) I particularly loved Donyale Werle's design, which transforms the Newman into a redneck paradise, full of small stuffed animals, KFC boxes, and all kinds of Southern bric-a-brac. It's as cheap as the jokes (lots of gags at the expense of the, umm, "effete" Martin Van Buren and James Monroe) and as effective. The show plays through June 27.

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