by Julie A Feltman 3.6.10
BOTTOM LINE: Totally offensive, politically incorrect characters who frequently use some of the most creative profanity I've ever heard, singing a song about smiling. God, I loved it.
Disclaimer: This show has nothing to do with the FOX hit Glee. Just saying. Keep reading.
Blue Coyote Theater Group's Glee Club is a really good time. You will laugh heartily. You won't want the show to be over when it is. You should go see it. Hell, I might go see it again. Don't get me wrong, Glee Club definitely has it's faults – the acting was a little forced and musical theater-y at times, and the script would benefit by leaving some things left unsaid - but overall I thought this was a great show and definitely worth a $25 ticket. I had a really good time.
Glee Club is about these 8 guys in Romeo, Vermont who totally hate their lives and come together once a week to sing in a glee club. They show up to their final rehearsal before their first big gig – singing at a nursing home filled with potential donors – and the choir director takes things way too seriously. He never lets them finish a line of singing without telling them how awful they are, that they should kill themselves, and that their sad, petty existence reminds him of his mother. Uplifting stuff like that. The choir only makes it through the song once, and when the do – man, it's awesome.
I loved the writing. It's not perfect, but it's definitely one of the funnier, more original scripts I've heard in a while. Every other line is laced with the most insanely degrading and hilarious insults. The characters are so different from one another, yet equally unlikable and lovable at the same time. You know, the types of guys you hate in real life, but love to watch onstage. The choir director insulting the chorus members, the alcoholic father whose kids hate him, the guy who tries to gain pity by pulling his cancer card, (pseudo-spoiler: he doesn't have cancer). My favorite character was Paul, the "serial killer" guy, brilliantly portrayed by Steven Burns. He said the creepiest and most inappropriate things at the most random times, with lines like "Next person who speaks gets buried under my deck with the rest of them!" So creepily awesome. And the faces he makes when he SINGS! Oh my God, I loved, loved, loved him. I almost wish there was less written material for him, because the more lines he had the more his character got gimmicky. Not his fault, the writings', he was brilliant.
Watching Glee Club at the Access Theater, I could not stop laughing at things that I didn't want to be laughing at, topics I felt guilty laughing at, but couldn't help myself. Laughing at racy jokes always feels wrong, but the discomfort makes you laugh louder. This pretty much sums up the way you feel leaving the theater – was it really funny that they're trying to convince the alcoholic to drink because he sings better that way? Or that they make fun of cancer? God yes. Yes it was funny. I don't know why, but yes! Go see this show.
(Glee Club is playing at The Access Theater, 380 Broadway between Walker and White. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm through April 3rd. The show runs just over an hour. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444, or online at smarttix.com)