Thursday, April 18, 2013

QUICK TAKE REVIEW Madness trumps Black Comedy By Beverly Creasey

The law of unintended consequences kicked in with a punch to the gut on press night (two days after the Marathon bombings) for BEOWULF: A Songplay by Banana Bag and Bodice (at Oberon through May 5th). As you may remember from high school, BEOWULF is the Norse saga in which the hero, Beowulf, defeats the evil monster Grendel.

 In the year 700, King Hrothgar enlists the help of Beowulf because Grendel has been killing—and maiming—his subjects. The Banana Bag and Bodice players happily describe body parts everywhere. (This is intended as a darkly comic piece.) When Beowulf asks the King what the face of evil looks like, the King replies, “like you and me” and when Beowulf defeats the monster, his bloody, severed arm is brandished proudly by the triumphant hero.

Unfortunately for the Banana company, my response to their satirical take on the epic is colored by the tragic events of April 15th. I just couldn’t find the sight of a grisly limb at all funny and their prescient take on “evil” looking like everyman sent my mind back to the Boston Marathon finish line. Other than that, I did admire their musicianship but their hi-jinks left me cold. Oh, and you don’t learn much about BEOWULF…but that’s their point, that it’s a work of “aggressive boredom” and they’re making it entertaining.