Historically, theater and your dear old Aunt John have had a rocky relationship. Admittedly, I have the attention span of a gnat doing the backstroke in bongwater and the prospect of sitting in a captive position without a regulated commercial break, whereby I can catch a smoke, escalates my innate fidgetiness. I am the last person you want to watch a DVD with if you require absolute silence (UNK SEZ: for serious!) or, moreover, drag to a play. I have walked out on more theatrical productions at intermission than I can recall — ’cause that’s I how roll — and yeah, I’m looking at you TOMMY.
That said, I had some personal reservations when I read that local theater company BRAT was mounting a production of CARRIE, a comedy by ERIK JACKSON, based on the novel by STEPHEN KING. And by personal reservations, I mean could I sit still long enough without embarrassing or otherwise raising the ire of Unkle Lancifer?
Well dear readers, after last night’s outing, I am happy to say that I sat completely enraptured, when I wasn’t comprising my bladder control from laughing, and I did not once give your Unk pause to pretend to not know me. More importantly though, stop whatever it is that you are doing, you have got to go see this stage version of CARRIE! I don’t care where you live… now is the time to visit Philadelphia, so get your ass on the BoltBus or JetBlue, and see this chestnut before the final curtain drops on November 7th.
Seriously, I could care less about the Tonys, but if I had the power to be kingmaker and give out such awards, this whole cast gets gold stars. LEAH WALTON steals every last scene in her PIPER LAURIE as channeled by ANDREA MARTIN interpretation of Carrie’s kooky mom Margaret White. She does meet her match head on at a poorly attended Tupperware Party (the rapid-fire ‘70s references abounding in this play are beyond awesome) when COLLEEN CORCORAN shows up as Carrie’s concerned gym teacher, Miss Gardner. CORCORAN is so on her A-Game as she puts Carrie’s bullies (Chris Hargensen, et al.) through what could best be described as a jazzercise showdown.
The play cleverly mashes up the classic novel with the ingenious film and yet has enough of its own gumption to throw in a couple of elements all its own. The music is amazing and the timing on the “Carrie” cue in a certain KANSAS song is beyond impressive. The occasionally wonky special effects don’t stand a chance in hell… they are stomped on by the fearless and improvisation-ready cast. Expect more hilarity than horror. If you haven’t figured out what makes this archetypal tale a permanent go-to, the message is spelled out for you before the curtain closes. Individuality is a gift not a curse. Go BRAT and go CARRIE… it is a SNELL of a good time!