Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW The Total Bent
by Sean Margaret Wagner
2019-02-15

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Authors: Stew and Heidi Rodewald

At: The Den Theatre, 1616 N. Wells St. Tickets: HavenTheatreChicago.com; $35. Runs through: March 10

Haven Theatre and About Face Theatre's The Total Bent is what comes from combining a dab of everything on your artists' pallet.

It's beat poetry, gospel, blues and psychadelic flutes. The same goes for tone; director Lili-Anne Brown keeps us volleying between total exuberance and total despair. The production delivers standout performances and compelling music, and makes sure you are not so deep in the narrative that you miss dozens of modern-day Easter eggs. The Total Bent wants us to examine Black fame and the threads of injustice that are laced through it, and ask how anyone could survive it.

One one corner there's a Bluntgomery, Alabama, television preacher named Papa Joe Roy ( Robert Cornelius ), and his gospel band. They're staging a comeback that'll help the public forget the disgrace of his fake faith healing, but he won't be involved in any civil-rights boycotting. He'll disparage white folks in the privacy of his own home, maintaining the Black status quo.

And in the other corner, there's Joe's son, Marty ( Gilbert Domally ), who wants to push boundaries; he's the one putting words to his father's music. His music goes from trolling Bluntgomery's white believers with songs like "That's Why He's Jesus and You're Not, Whitey" to weird soaring music that questions god, sex and gender norms. Marty seduces annoyingly posh London record producer Byron Blackwell ( Eric Lindahl ) to make his album, and recruits Abee ( Breon Arzell ) and Andrew ( Michael Turrentine ), two shmoes who wandered in, to sing backup. The further Marty runs from Joe's idea of Godly entertainment, the more similarities we start to notice.

The humor is sharp and the music has the potential to hit you, no matter where you stand on gospel, rock or psychedelic overtures. The house band led by Deacon Charlie ( Jermaine Hill ) on piano and Deacon Dennis ( Frederick Harris ) on organ treats audiences to a sampler platter of songs that get too raunchy, manic and subversive for their own good. ( You might hate yourself when a song titled "I'm Thankful for Slavery" stays lodged in your head. ) Arzell utilizes the small space with expert choreography. As Blackwell, Lindahl is such a smarmy, demanding, undercutting little whitesplainer, you can't wait for him to leave. ( Don't worry; that's the point. ) But the true heavyweights of The Total Bent are Gilbert Domally, as Marty Roy, and Robert Cornelius, as Joe Roy. Domally tiptoes carefully around his queerness and ferocity, until the force of his true nature gets pressed to vinyl and thousands of Londoners can't get enough. As Joe, Cornelius has contempt and mistrust for a changing world. He scolds Marty and his community in song, but it only seems to backfire.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Bechdel Fest 7 set for Aug. 25-28 2019-08-21 - Broken Nose Theatre ( BNT ) has announced the full line-up for Bechdel Fest 7: Momentum—the company's annual festival of new short plays ...


Gay News

About Face names new associates 2019-08-21 - About Face Theatre has announced the addition of five new artists to the company's roster of artistic associates. Along with Artistic Director ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW You Can't Fake the Funk 2019-08-21 - Author: Daryl D. Brooks At: Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark St. Tickets: BlackEnsembletheater.org, 773-769- 4451; $55-65. Runs through Sept. 22 Enjoyment ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW All Quiet on the Western Front 2019-08-21 - Playwright: adapted by Matt Foss, from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque At: Red Tape Theatre at the Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Fly Honey Show 2019-08-21 - Authors: Erin Killmurray ( concept ), Mary Williamson and Shannon Matesky. At: The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: http://www.theflyhoneyshow.com/events; $22.50-$45, ...


Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-08-21 - The Band's Visit, Cadillac Palace, Sept. 3-15—Critics' Picks rarely promotes shows not yet open, but this disarming, tender, compassionate and entertaining musical must ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Women of 4G 2019-08-21 - Playwright: Amy Tofte At: Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St. Tickets: TheFactoryTheater.com and BabesWithBlades.org; $20-$28. Runs through: Sept. 14 It is ...


Gay News

Kinley Preston previews Lips Chicago dinner theater 2019-08-21 - Lips, billed as "the ultimate in drag dining," is locating its fifth location in Chicago. The South Loop venue, opening to the public ...


Gay News

THEATER SPOTLIGHT Doing Fine 2019-08-20 - Joanna Furnans may be the only dancer on view in Doing Fine, Aug. 22-Sept. 8 at the grey space, but the world premiere ...


Gay News

Invictus Announces 2019-20 Season 2019-08-20 - CHICAGO— Invictus Theatre, a theater company that emerged in November 2017 with an intimate production of OTHELLO and followed it with Shakespeare's comedy ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.