Nothing Special Productions presents
THE ARMAGEDDON DANCE PARTY
At Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee
Written by David L. Williams
Directed by Jack Dugan Carpenter
August 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th at 7:30
For tickets, call the Gorilla Tango Box Office at 773-598-4549
Running Time: Ninety minutes with no intermission
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
The world will end tonight! No time for a bucket list, more like one more heaping spoonful… but of what? Re-read “Peter Rabbit,” break-up with a girlfriend, kill a stranger? Nothing Special Productions presents THE ARMAGEDDON DANCE PARTY at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee. John hears on the TV that Armageddon is striking. Tom confirms the apocalypse. John and Michelle decide to transform an evening of hanging out with friends to an end-of-the-world blowout bash. When the party goers discover the doomsday scenario, the dance mix turns to revelationS. Guests make lists of what they won’t miss from this life… genocide, child molestation, Nascar. They voice concerns about afterlife social pressures of ‘where were you when Armageddon happened?’ As twenty-somethings, they blame the baby boomer generation for yet another faux-pas, the destruction of the world. THE ARMAGEDDON DANCE PARTY is a dance to the death that kills with comedy and could use a DNR on some fatal speeches.
Under the direction of Jack Dugan Carpenter, the first half of the show boogies at a quick pace and high energy. Aided by the muffled sounds of Designer Patricia Cardona, Carpenter effectively stages a secondary area for intimate discussions. In the funniest line of the show and best break-up line ever, Conor Burke (John) uses the hallway area for a last conversation with Anne Thompson (Michelle). Burke is the henpecked boyfriend triumphantly mustering courage at five minutes to the 12th hour. Thompson is a wacky know-it-all and controlling host in the deadly festivities. Within the chaos, she delivers absurd lines with a matter-of-fact sensibility. Nick Cardiff (Charlie) is hilarious as the token stud and designated killer. As the mass exodus approaches, the entire cast dances to their own lethal tunes with no-consequences moves.
Playwright David L. Williams has penned a Judgment Day farce with disaster-based absurdity. With witty dialogue exploring death without mourners and ‘army wedding party’ confusion, Williams explores multiple reactions to pending destruction. The plot is one tweet or text away from a catastrophic implosion. Initially, the points of view entertain in their diversity. Later, the speeches get preachy, the jokes die away and ‘dropping the big one’ seems like the best option to reach the end. Still, THE ARMAGEDDON DANCE PARTY is a wake-up call to wallflowers everywhere, “don’t wait for the perfect song, get up and dance…now!”
At any Armageddon dance party, I’d want Theatre Bob pouring the drinks. He always has more than three words to describe the show at Chicago Theatre Addict.
WAITING FOR THE SHOW
Gorilla Tango Theater, 1919 N. Milwaukee, is conveniently located steps from the Western stop on the Blue Line. This works perfect for theatre goers on the Blue Line. I just am not a Blue Liner. So from Lakeview, I play CTA roulette with bus tracker determining the best two bus scenarios. I go with the old 152 – 50 combo with a walk down Armitage. It gets me there in a little under an hour. With a half hour before Armageddon is upon us, we choose to indulge in a drink at the Green Eye Lounge, 2403 W. Homer. The Green Eye has an empty but fun vibe with original artwork and expansive space and drink menu. There are only a few patrons but it still seems like an eternity to place our order. We order up two Stellas for $10.50. My debit card is denied because of a $25 minimum charge. At a bar? So, I incur the $2.50 fee at the ATM so Green Eyes doesn’t have to pay a credit card fee. Come on! Post show we return for a nightcap. We are followed in by the entire cast and most of the audience. With one bartender, we avoid a disaster by ending it… on our own terms.