Blue bites off more than it can chew with Women Beware Women

Sun. May 5, 2024 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

New theater troupe Blue in the Right Way's first production Women Beware Women will be a lesson in patience for many with an almost three-hour-long production. This source of frustration begins with three possible theatrical performances crammed into one.

First, there's a period piece by Thomas Middleton from 1621, where director Kevin V. Smith and Daiva Bhandari attempt to adapt the text for modern audiences. Several of the performers succeed in conveying the material and some fail miserably. Founding member Daiva Bhandari is miscast as Livia, Huy Nguyen appears lost as Duke and on opening night the Cardinal played by Alex Amaya goes down in flames. Several others fare better such as Brandon Wiman and Christin Prince.

Another storyline features Bree Perry and Kidany Camilo bringing a powerful trans tale to life which should be a separate play altogether.

The third part is an attempt to explain any experimental mistakes as avant-garde and should be cut completely. This section undercuts anything the Blue Troupe has built beforehand with the other two parts and makes the show a convoluted mess.

Throw in some cartoonish dialogue, awkward singing and pointless dance sequences to add fuel to the fire.

Projecting Spanish subtitles similar to an opera for a show set in Italy makes zero sense and the creators have publicly claimed that it's for inclusion. If they think that native speakers will be rushing in to witness Google translate slapped on a canvas high above their heads, they should try a different tactic.

A content warning on the website and posted on a sign near the entrance to the theater states: “This performance contains strobe effects, explicit language, nudity, and depictions of sex and violence; and deals with themes of transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, incest, and gender violence.”

There is much more to be cautioned about with this production such as if one suffers from misophonia there is a constant assault of sounds overlapping a majority of play. If being trapped inside a magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scanner is your cup of tea then by all means feel free to explore this show.

If a theatrical team is going to come out of the starting gate disparaging other theater company's work and even call out names such as the iconic Chicago Shakespeare Theater then they better have the right stuff to back it up. Blue in the Right Way moves in the wrong direction by not supporting others.

This band of creatives can get back on track by learning from those around them and retooling this tale. In the meantime, Women Beware Women plays on until May 12 at The Edge Theater, 5451 North Broadway, with tickets at Proceed at your own risk.