Review "Aftermath": Internal Implosion Results in a Super Nova!


Signal Ensemble Theatre presents


At 1802 W. Berenice
Written and directed by Ronan Marra
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru December 12th
Buy Tickets
Running Time:  One hour and forty-five minutes includes a delayed start and no intermission

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

How many musicians does it take to make Rolling Stones?  TEN!  It's not shocking that a legendary band spanning nearly five decades of music has had some guitarists' replacements.   It is surprising that a founding member, credited with naming the group, mysteriously dies days after he's disbanded from the Stones.  Who is Brian JonesSignal Ensemble Theatre presents the remount of AFTERMATH, a jukebox musical written and directed by Ronan Marra.   The tumultuous relationship between childhood friends, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, is a legendary Stones conflict.  Not so familiar is the impact Brian Jones had on originating and directing the band.  AFTERMATH is a rock-u-mentary dramatizing the  1966-1969 rift between Jones and Jagger/Richards.   What came first sex, drugs or rock and roll?  As Jagger/Richards rise in fame with original musical compositions, Jones slips into a hazy self-induced oblivion.  AFTERMATH, named for the 1966 breakthrough album, is an internal implosion that resulted in a super nova.      

after mick.jpg

Written and directed by Ronan Marra, the show is narrated by Brian Jones (Aaron Snook).  It's a Behind The Music tribute told from the perspective of an insider.  As Jones' ghost, Snook looks back with a humorous, nonchalance at his demise.  As Jones in the dramatization of historical moments, Snook goes from creative inspirational to volatile messy with a puff and a shot.  Nick Vidal is a mini-Mick.  Vidal channels the flamboyant moves and attitude of the famous rocker.  His spastic, deliberate, head Jaggering is mick-nificent.  He looks like the real thing!  He doesn't quite sound the part and lyrics are hard to understand during the musical interludes.   Joseph Stearns (Keith Richards) is hilarious as the musical genius able to balance work and addiction.  Stearns delivers a memorable, 'I'm stoned ask me another day.' In a talk-show scene, Stearns' keeps cracking up with authentic spontaneity.  Bringing the beat, Bries Vannon (Charlie) slaps the skins and an ongoing one liner with a confident rhythm.   The entire ensemble jams together in an energetic, foot-stomping, chair-dancing Stones-polooza!          

Playwright Marra has successfully captured a pivotal moment in music history.   He honors Brian Jones' impact on the Rolling Stones with a bio-pic rock concert.  The entertaining show is a personal reflection of excesses... too many creative geniuses, too much ego, too much partying... spirals Stones to success or death.   On a multi-layered stage, Director Marra


stages intimate moments with characters sitting down on the lowest level.  The aftermath for me is in the fourth row I can't see the exchange.  With three bobble heads moving in perfect synchronization, my view is regularly obstructed, 'I can't get no satisfaction.' 

With 'Sympathy for the devil' aka his Sunday patient load, Scott describes the show with 'fate, visionary and tragic'.

'You can't always get what you want.'  Not finding a new dining spot within the theatre radius, we default to a 'Miss you' standby, Mrs. Murphy's, 3905 N. Lincoln.  The cavernous, upscale Irish pub does 'Gimme Shelter' on a brisk autumn night.    Scott orders the barbecue shrimp.  I go with the house burger paired with a nice malbec.  Our server is a regular 'Jumping Jack Flash' and regularly inquires if we need anything.  With efficiency as sweet as 'Brown Sugar,' we enjoy a leisurely dinner before we go out on the town to 'Paint it, Black.'  

Production photography courtesy of Johnny Knight.

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