That Sordid Little Story | Constellation | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Wed., July 7 and Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through Aug. 7 2010
Price: $25
I've seen most of the handful of productions The New Colony has mounted and haven't been sorry yet. Disappointed, sometimes, but never sorry. The company members are talented, clever, charming, and skilled--a solid percentage of them exceptionally so. They communicate a sense of ensemble rapport that makes everything they do more interesting. And, dedicated to creating new work in a collaborative manner, they come up with some great ideas, most of which so far have involved the ways and means of coming of age. That Sordid Little Story, for instance, concerns a young man named Billy who travels the south in 1963, searching for a bluegrass band he's been listening to on the radio, convinced that seeing them in person will somehow help him unlock the secret of his father's identity. The Homer-meets-Jethro conceit yields some awfully nice touches. While eluding Billy, the bluegrass band stays onstage through most of the show, playing sweet original tunes extremely well. Some of the characters Patriac Coakley's Billy meets are vivid creations--especially Sean Ellis's Lenny Bruce-esque comedian and a couple of good-hearted Latino boat painters played by Aaron Alonso and Gary Tiedemann. And the secret of Billy's pedigree turns out to be a doozy. But New Colony's approach also yields waste and confusion. Seemingly important plot points don't go anywhere, characters act arbitrarily, and there's so much pointless motion that you could cut an hour out of this 150-minute evening without doing it a bit of harm. Basically, the show needs a strong editorial and directorial hand, which may run counter to New Colony's sense of process. So the question is, When is a process freeing and when does it hold you back? --Tony Adler



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