The Bricolage Production Company is drawing a lot of laughs from the audience with their Midnight Radio production of SCarrie: The Musical. Midnight Radio is a live comedy series in the style of a 1940s radio broadcast featuring a live band, vintage sound effects and even a spoof commercial or two. SCarrie: The Musical is a variation of the 1988 production of Carrie the Musical, which itself is a spinoff of the original 1976 Carrie film based on the novel by Stephen King. SCarrie follows two timelines; the first being the breaking news interrupting the regular programming of the show and describing the mysterious devastation that has erupted from a Squirrel Hill high school.
Second is the story of Carrie White, the extremely awkward, mustache dawning high school girl living with an oppressively religious mother and the constant torment from her peers at school. These two perspectives eventually merge into the explosive climax of the story. The set actually started out in the lobby of Bricolage, where many patrons stop to snap photos in “detention” before entering the performance area. The stage is set up as one might imagine a radio show set: several microphones, the band at center stage, along with the tools needed for the sound effects. In the back there are lockers that serve as both set pieces and sound effects props. This show was a riot to say the least; from the very first “commercial” to the finale, audience members of all ages were laughing. The humor ranges from simple backhanded comments, to the cruel, black humor of Mrs. White’s dialogue with her daughter. Some of these comments were so unexpected and cruel, the audience would groan with sympathy for Carrie or members of the front row could hear “Oh, damn!” coming from the back rows of the audience. Even the musical numbers were hysterical and the cast surprised me with their singing talent.
The cast was great, giving life to each of their multiple characters and always nailing the delivery. My two personal favorites were Andrew Swackhamer and Kristiann Menotiades. Swackhamer plays Tommy, the typical football player romantic interest, as well as a snotty young lady that participates in the ostracizing of Carrie. Menotiades played Carrie’s psychotic mother as well as the lesbian gym coach, both having very different accents. Carrie’s mother has a very proper and refined way of speaking while the coach has a very thick, nasal accent attributed to this region. I couldn’t help but cringe uncomfortably during the coach’s first few appearances, as I have a particular family member that has the exact same style of speech, but after I got over the ghosts of Thanksgivings past I found her hilarious. That being said, all of the cast members were great and even though I was looking right at them, I could imagine the different characters as and what they might look like based on the voices. This was my first Midnight Radio show and I will admit I was skeptical as to what it would be like actually watching a show designed for radio. That being said, I was made a believer by this show. Not only could I have enjoyed this show by simply listening to it, being able to watch how the sound effects were made, the band playing and the actor’s expressions and movements added to the entertainment. If you are looking to laugh, this show delivers – just leave the kids at home. SCarrie runs through November 8th. Special thanks to the Bricolage for two complimentary press tickets.
Performance Date: October 30, 2014