"Poseidon! An Upsidedown Musical" Theatre Review: Tragic Success

Poseidon! An Upsidedown Musical

Hell in a Handbag Productions

The Chopin Theatre

Chicago, Illinois

September 24, 2009

When the first wave hit me, I was a little disoriented. Someone’s living room, prominence of the nurse and Indian lady characters, and the female lead in a magenta polyester jumpsuit? I had been told to re-watch The Poseidon Adventure (TPA) to enhance my enjoyment of Poseidon! An Upsidedown Musical. But unlike the poor unfortunate souls that didn’t listen to Reverend Scott, I was not doomed by my lack of a current TPA fix. I treaded water initially taking in the two storylines: TPA 1972 and the present day Poseidonites paying homage to TPA at a costume party. Well before the Poseidon capsized, I took the plunge and escaped into a warped version of a childhood memory.

Did you did you did you did you did you did you…. (bazillion more times) like his music? Yes, David Cerda, I didn’t just like… I loved your music, your play and even your magenta polyester jumpsuit. Well, maybe I just liked the jumpsuit. “ABC, 1, 2, 3, potpourri…” anything Ed Jones (Nonnie) uttered was laugh out loud hysterical. Elizabeth Lesinski (Linda), Kevin Grubb (Mike) and Derek Czaplewski (Reverend) channeled fantastically exaggerated versions of TPA originals. In Just Panties (what else do I need?) I was fearful that Linda DID NEED a little extra fabric to harness her torpedoes. The absolute star of the show is the capsize of the Poseidon. The phenomenal choreography of TPA characters and Poseidonite party goers delivers non-stop laughter.

After a very respectable 4 month summer run, Poseidon! An Upsidedown Musical closes this weekend.

Fans of TPA 1972, closeted poseidonites, people living disastrous lives, go see it! Take your friend that hates on life right now and plunge in! One of my favorite things about the show was Steve, who falls asleep at most plays, couldn’t stop laughing! We are talking giggles to chuckles to blown-out hysteria. If you can’t remember the last time you laughed out loud, your weekend furlough needs to include Poseidon! An Upsidedown Musical!

Poseidonites along for the journey summed it up as… Ellen – “was in tears;” Scubi – “side splitting fun;” Steve – “doubled over laughing;” Shawn – “Yes, I did;” and James – “Klassic Komedy Kitsch.”


Pre-show activity, as defined by James, is a production in itself. Scene 1, we crash an open house (3750 LSD, Unit 4H). Spacious two bedroom condo for $250K served with a lovely cabernet and blue cheese. Scene 2, we dine al fresco at Metro Pizza (2534 W. Division). Cheap slices of freshly made pizza! I highly recommend the rosemary potato pizza (and I don’t even like potatoes!) Scene 3, we race to Atomic Sketch at Evil Olive (1551 W. Division). On the last Thursday of the month, Atomic Sketch features artists creating and selling art. The host bar, Evil Olive, serves up its house specialty Templeton Rye as guests mingle among the artists and their work. Such a great opportunity to experience and support local artists, I’m repeating Scene 3 at my earliest convenience.

After the show, a booth at Emmett’s (corner of Halsted, Grand, Milwaukee) was the perfect locale to somber up over Guinness and nachos. The historical bar on Chicago’s west side had an eclectic selection of music within an old school pub ambiance. Maybe it was reliving TPA childhood memory, being slathered in cheese dripping nachos or getting somber too quickly but I couldn’t catch the wave at Emmett’s. I left a partially drank Guinness and headed home, not quite a disastrous ending but definitely looking forward to the morning after.

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