Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

These Paper Bullets

Now rockin' the stage over at the Linda Gross Theater of The Atlantic Theater Company is a play with music that has more effervescence than some musicals.  The title and origins of the show are a bit stuffy being from Yale Reparatory Theater and all.... but that doesn't stop director Jackson Gay from dazzling the audience with his spinning disk stage and scenery (i get it, just like a record, right?) upon which the boys and their fans strut their stuff.

What have we got going on here, you ask?  It's Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing updated to London 1964 and involves a boy band that very closely (*wink wink*) resembles the Beatles.    The Quartos - which in my opinion should be the name of the play - are cute, rebellious, young and horny. (what boy bands aren't?).  Music by Billie Joe Armstrong and orchestrations by Tom Kitt are sure to please.

Don't get me wrong - it's super-smart - although I will admit I have never read Much Ado About Nothing - so much of it was lost on me.  Meanwhile the music has an all-too-familiar sound to it and kept the toes-a-tapping'.   The uber adorable and sexy boys of The Quartos - Ben (Justin Kirk), Claude (Bryan Fenkart), Balth (Lucas Papaelias), and Pedro (James Barry) - croon the night away and take you back a few decades to a more innocent time.

Sub plots develop around the love and revenge story - one might say a few too many however.  Scotland Yard detectives investigating "What is wrong with the youth of our Country" provide some entertaining interludes following the boys - including the incredibly adorable multi-character actor Christopher Geary.  The women who are the object of affection and scorn include Bea (Nicole Parker), Higgie (Arianna Venturi), and Ulcie (Keira Naughton).

Yes, I believe the characters have similar names to the play by the Bard and it's all wrapped in a hip backbeat that will make you smile despite the unnecessarily long tun time (please trim this up, Rolin Jones).  A two hour runtime will likely be the sweetest spot you can find.