What happens when a girl with harsh chemicals meets her hated foe the bedbug? Bedbugs!!! the musical of course! This tale of love and world domination is brought to you by the writing duo of Paul Leschen (Music) and Fred Sauter (Book & Lyrics). Told in an ’80 rock style, this sci-fi musical is a wonderful submersion into the campy movies of the time. Leschen’s music is well crafted and entertaining, perfectly paired with the wit and satire of Sauter’s lyrics, when they can be clearly heard through the muddy sound. Coming in at 2 hours and 15 minutes (with a 15 minute intermission), the book had some wonderful moments but might have been better served in a shorter timeframe.
The cast lent an extraordinary talent to this production. Leading the way is Grace McLean (Carly). McLean commands the stage with a hard edged rock sound. Brian Charles Rooney (Dionne Salon) soars in his role as the parody of Canadian pop legend Celine Dion. Rooney plays the role with casual ease and owns the audience the way Dionne owns her fans. Equally excellent is Chris Hall (Cimex). Hall could revival Tim Curry’s legendary Dr. Frank’N’Furter with each of his rock anthems. Tracey Conyer Lee (Belinda, Consuela, Bedbug) catches the eye whenever she is on stage, drawing your attention through sheer force of character. Rounding out the show are Nicholas Park (Burt), Danny Bolero (Dexter/Menachem/Bedbug), Gretchen Wylder (Mother/Joan/Diner Lady/Bedbug), Barry Shafrin (Mason/Bedbug) and ensemble members Courtney Bassett and Colin Scott Cahill.
Robert Bartley’s direction and choreography were exactly what Bedbugs!!! needed. Bartley uses the space to its fullest and truly draws the audience into the fray. Adam Demerath lends us a perfect environment for the filthy, soon to be apocalyptic New York City and Kirk Fitzgerald adds the ideal accents in lighting. The bedbugs themselves find glorious life through the costumes by Philip Heckman. Heckman makes each bug, and the rest of the characters, unique and a visual delight.All in all, if you enjoy campy sci-fi and somebody you know enjoys rock musical, team up and go see Bedbugs!!! together at The ArcLight Theater.
Review By: Paul Morin
Photos By: Rex Bonomell