5 Handfuls of Butt: “A Ride On the Irish Cream”

Presented by Oberon
Written/Created/Co-composed/Lyrics by Erin Markey
Directed by Jordan Fein
Co-composed & Musical Directed by Emily Bate
Co-composed by Kenny Mellman 
Choreographed by Chloe Kernaghan 

Feb. 28 – March 4, 2017
Club Oberon
Arrow St
Cambridge, MA
Oberon on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) There is something exquisitely beautiful about a conventionally attractive woman being unconventionally, relentlessly, fearlessly strange in society’s general direction into perpetuity. It is a breathtaking thing. Erin Markey isn’t Jennifer Lawrence cutesy, “normal” weird. Markey and her merry band of revelers are Disco Pigs, Bellatrix LeStrange, mutated Alice in Wonderland kinds of weird. Their rock musical A Ride on the Irish Cream is gloriously odd. 

A Ride on the Irish Cream is a pop rock musical about a “vainglorious self-made girl, Regan (Erin Markey), and her family’s pontoon boat/horse (Becca Blackwell).” Theirs is a love story unexpected by the ages… Or anyone in the audience. Regan, our pubescent hero, executes her own private drama party in her Michigan backyard on the bank of the Kawkawlin River. This is otherwise a difficult plot to describe. Truly, it must be seen to be believed. Markey and Blackwell are backed by a band half Jem and the Holograms, the other half gritty hipsters. Pianist Ian Axness is 1960’s David Bowie gender bending chic.

Irish Cream is similar to Hedwig and the Angry Inch in form. It’s storyline is executed with dadaist melodrama. The events are non-linear, àpropos to nothing, and silly. It’s surprising art: the dialogue sounds like the back and forth inside jokes between best friends. Monologues are more cohesive, powerful, and embarrassingly relatable. Her nightmare segment on pantyhose is the most metal thing I’ve seen all year.    

That being stated, the performances by Markey, Blackwell and band are excellent. Their commitment is exceptional. Their performances, to the actors reading this review, is fully “in the room.” They are present for each moment of their work. I feel like a better artist after watching.

The script, when lucid, is image-ripe. Their playful work with word repetition is intuitive. It’s proof positive that words can mean whatever one wants them to mean regardless of verbiage.

Chloe Kernaghan’s choreography is reminiscent of the dance breaks on Blossom.

The lighting by Barbara Samuels is dreamy. The follow spot looked like a halo around Blackwell and Markey’s heads.

A Ride on the Irish Cream is not for the casual theatre-goer. The performance I attended received confused stares from the waitstaff (they must be new). It’s execution is just this side of madness.  But, it is very good. Totally worth the potential alienation.

Queen’s Note:
we elected a thin-skinned bigot to the office of the President dead set on turning our “democracy” into a fascist, totalitarian oligarchy dominated by the 1%. His plan to slash the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities is HERE. Trump is a monster. His policies, when he names them, are destructive. His narcissistic behavior is more so. Fight him. And, for the love of all that’s sacred, keep creating. If you need help, ask for it. Our existence is our resistance. May the force be with you. – KD

Sign the petition to protect the National Endowment HERE.

#blacklivesmatter #translivesmatter #brownlivesmatter #yellowlivesmatter #lgbtqialivesmatter #immigrantlivesmatter #muslimlivesmatter #disabledlivesmatter #theatreartsmatter #NODAPL

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