Atlanta >Actor's Express
“The stage is cool: it's set-up to make you feel as though you're actually sitting in a bar (strip club, actually - the Tittycat Club).”
“The theater's down-and-dirty approach to production is something I admire and the staff is friendly, motivated and appreciative (we send a lot of business to them via Food Studio and vise versa).”
Hedwig & The Angry Inch.
I went to Actor's Express Sunday night to see Hedwig & The Angry Inch. I must start off by saying that this is one of my favorite movies E-V-E-R, so I had very high expectations. I've also watched the DVD so many times that it's hard for me to imagine anyone else playing Hedwig and his cast of wig-heads.
First off, I should review the theater itself. I definitely appreciate what these folks are doing here - their seasons are always filled with quirky, off-the-beaten-track material that is certainly a refreshing change from the everyday doldrums playing up the street, i.e. Mama Mia. The theater's down-and-dirty approach to production is something I admire and the staff is friendly, motivated and appreciative (we send a lot of business to them via Food Studio and vise versa).
Now, the actual play itself. Again, my standards were very high and I think I would have had a completely different reaction to it had I not seen the movie first. However, that said, this is a true tour-de-force for Craig Waldrip, the actor fortunate enough to done the wig and heels for this production. He does his best to keep the energy level up through the 2-hour performance, but there were some uncomfortable silences and gaps in music/talking that seemed to last about 3 seconds longer than they should. But, kudos to him for wearing those heels and belting out the songs in a way that would have made JCM very proud.
The stage is cool: it's set-up to make you feel as though you're actually sitting in a bar (strip club, actually - the Tittycat Club). There's also a bar, although it only served non-alcoholic drinks (WTF?!?!? I wanted to get my drink on to see this show live!) - this may have helped with the excitment/participation level of the crowd, too.
I also liked the way they interweaved actually Atlanta locations throughout the dialogue - Tommy Gnosis is playing at Bobby Dodd stadium and Hedwig wonders if she find her other half, will she be able to drive in the HOV lane on I-75.
Overall, I enjoyed it and would recommend you see it. Just make sure you have the DVD at home to watch afterward to really, REALLY, quench your thirst for "Whether you like it or not, ladies and gentleman - HEDWIG!"
Great show, venue, and customer service!. Hedwig and the Angry Inch was unique and funny. The venue is small and intimate. There isn't a bad seat in the house. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are for sale in the theater, and you can purchase alcoholic beverages from neighboring restaurant The Food Studio and bring them in which is a real plus. I bought 3 tickets online and then 2 of my party were not able to go. They weren't able to issue a refund because ticketing is done through a different company, but they were all too happy to send me a gift certificate for 2 free admissions. I will definitely be back (and would go back even if I didn't have 2 free admissions coming to me).
Please note the Food Studio restaurant is closed, however there are several great West Midtown dining spots nearby: Chowbaby, Figo Pasta, Six Feet Under, and 5 Seasons Brewing opening in 2009.
Actor's Express offers wine, beer, soft drinks, water, cookies, candy and snacks in the theatre lobby.
Edgy and intimate fine arts venue in urban-pioneer digs..
Actor's Express anchors the gorgeously hip King Plow Arts Center, a refurbished industrial space on the west side of downtown. The Express works to create a strong sense of community, offering a variety of classes from playwriting to acting technique. The crowd skews toward typically urbane theatergoers, heavily favoring groups of gay men.
Scenery aside, the real reason most people go is for the consistently high-quality and thought-provoking productions, along with a fun musical here and there. Past productions have included intense, gritty dramas like "Handler," as well as musicals like the "Harvey Milk Show" (about the notorious San Francisco politician) and special performance-art pieces such as Dael Orlandersmith's "The Gimmick." Films and readings, among other offerings, round out the eclectic bill of fare.
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