The New Colony presents
THAT SORDID LITTLE STORY
At Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western
Musical direction by Henry Riggs
Thru August 7th
Running Time: Two hours and forty minutes includes two intermissions
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
The pan Elvis’ mom fried bacon, siblings having sex, a turtle filled with shrimp, a man beaten for being black, the love child of JFK, a bigamist painter, barbed wire shoemaker, which sordid little story is true? The New Colony presents the world premiere of THAT SORDID LITTLE STORY, a blue grass musical about the journey to discovery. A young man turns groupie because a band’s songs are mirroring his life. Wanting to know more about his unidentified father, he stalks the concert tour hoping for answers. At each destination, the guy just misses connecting with the band. Instead of solving the riddle of his existence, he gets sidetracked with involvement in a myriad of others’ life stories. THAT SORDID LITTLE STORY is stories within stories of a guy’s story set to music. It’s a lot! There’s nothing little about this play.
Going big from conception, THAT SORDID LITTLE STORY is credited as a collaborative effort between Andrew Hobgood, Will Cavedo and Benno Nelson. The reason for the journey is intriguing. The trio, along with Henry Riggs, picked the perfect tunes for the trip but the scenic route got a little tedious. It’s like ‘let’s go around the block again I love this song.’ The band plays on… and well. The songs are fun and the harmony is tight. Interspersed between the musical interludes, the scenes are more loose and jam on a little too long. In addition, the scene transitions are awkward as the road crew moves furniture across a mammoth stage. It slows the pace and lengthens the ride.
The Hobgood, Cavedo, and Nelson team created and cast some colorful
locals with their own back stories for traveling entertainment. Driving the journey, Patriac Coakley (Billy) is earnest in his accidental tourist portrayal. Caitlin Chuckta (Abby) is successfully manipulative until she hits a dead end with an authentic finish. With a stumbling swagger, Sean Ellis (Bennie) is hilarious as a loud mouth, drunken stand-up comic. ‘Of course, they know me. I’ve thrown up on half of them.’ Gary Tiedemann (Hernan) and Aaron Alonso (Arternio) are a solid comedy duo as Spanglish painters. Despite expressive physicality, for the bilingual-challenged son mucho tiempo. Caramba! Often in multiple roles, the entire cast transforms into a variety of storytellers to spin individual tales. With any prolonged excursion, fighting can ensue. Will Cavedo (fight captain) has choreographed some energetic scuffles as hic-cups of high drama on the extensive itinerary.
THAT SORDID LITTLE STORY is more ‘those eclectic long tales.’ It’s a clever idea for a road trip. With a little more speed, less potty stops, and fewer scenery changes, everyone will arrive at their destination refreshed and satisfied.
WAITING FOR THE SHOW
Two blocks from the theatre, 90 Mile Cuban Café, 3101 N. Clybourn, is perfect for a quick bite before a long road trip. In the sultry days of Chicago summer, be aware that the little café is not air-conditioned. But the authentic feel, friendly service and BYOB encouragement make the patio a good and cheap dining destination. Over Coronas and Cubanos, the Chicago Theatre Addict and I discuss upcoming excursions to Steppenwolf, Cadillac Palace and American Theater Company. We leave the café with road pops to go. A note to future travelers: carry your own beer opener. The Viaduct Theatre bar doesn’t share their opener. Cue the band for a long distance dedication to the Viaduct bartender, ‘I’ll drink until I dilly dilly die.’