Monday, May 23, 2016

Benny & Griff's Wonderful Universe: The Musical Experience @ The Duplex

The best thing about theatre is the various shapes and sizes you find it in. Blocks and blocks down from box stepping leggy blondes on Broadway are these beautiful blips of theatrical time that we catch and treasure for a long while.

That’s where we meet Benny and Griff. 

Benny & Griff’s Wonderful Universe: The Musical Experience is like a f^cked up art song by operatic puppets and troubadours, a celebration and an outcry of the millennial generation. Jam-packed with color, satanic chants, and the occasional interjection, (a la 90s Saturday cartoon mornings) this CLEARLY translates to an awesome time, no?

We walk in to a set that looks like a mildly sinister bible school basement? A storage house for Yo Gabba Gabba rejected scenery? But whatever, because it perfectly reflects what we are in for for the evening. Dave Columbo, our energized emcee, charges the stage stating that “we are living in weird times right now, and we need something like this show.” And it’s totally true.

Benny and Griff are our musical storytellers for the evening, performing catchy, campfire-y, inane tunes about being friends with animals and not going to school, all the while in pursuit of finding the queen so they can sing her a kick ass song for her birthday.

Rounding out the ensemble are these hysterical entities that take on bizarre personalities along the way. Notable moments were the beautiful and hilarious Stephanie Windland becoming the Gallump, a dilapidated puppet who lost his family and hates a hand up his ass. Nolan Hennelly became the River Beast, an afeared beast made from two green pizza boxes and some PVC pipe, which he tackled with humanity and grace.

The duo certainly have a following, as everyone bursting at the seams of the Duplex’s basement were swaying and singing along to their infectious tunes.  We all take a friendship pledge at the end of the show, so I know I’ll see a lot of familiar faces next go around.

Their next event, 2 Birds, 1 Stoned is June 1st @ 8 over at the Parkside Lounge (317 E Houston St). Special pieces like these don’t come along all the time, so go over, make the pledge, and have a killer time! Follow the guys on fb/insta/whatever : BennyandGriff /

Review By: Brittany Goodwin

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