Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bash'd a Gay Rap Opera, or How Thursday was a good NYC Pride start!

Bash'd: A Gay Rap Opera
Written and Performed by: Chris Craddock & Nathan Cuckow
Music by: Aaron Macri
Directed by: Ron Jenkins

From the first lines, Bash'd announces to its audience that they'll need to take a while to tune their ears to the sounds of gay white men rapping. It's sound advice because, if - like me! - you aren't quite into the Hip Hop or the Rap (yes, they require a "the" in front of them, shut up!), you might need some time getting used to following along. Good thing T-Bag and Feminem (amazing names aren't they?) make it so easy to follow in the first 2/3 of the shows with campy (and manly!) numbers that catalogue the gay species at a regular club, do social commentary on homophobia, gay marriage and violence. 

In essence, Bash'd tells a very traditional story: city boy meets mid-west boy. Boys fall in love. Boys marry. Tragedy happens. Social commentary is achieved. But even if the story is a Romeo-Romeo for the 21st Century (or as someone put it in a later conversation "QAF distilled into an hour with a different ending") what makes Bash'd a treat to watch is to experience Chris and Nathan (Canada whaaa?) having a hell of a lot of fun poking fun and in way honoring the hip hop/rap movement and making it well... faggy. True story: the first 15 mins of the show mentions the words "ass," "cocksuckers," and "fags" more times than I have ever seen on stage (but maybe that shows that I just haven't been watching the right shows!) Don't believe me? Check the cOcKsUcKaZ song on myspace: "I say all you real faggots limp your wrists in the air, don't be straight just be gay like you just don't care!"

That said I did have two quibbles with the show: 1. The scenes which were densely populated made for very confusing situations (I found myself asking "Who's who?" at key parts towards the end) and 2. The move towards violence, which comes rather abruptly upon the campy and laugh-out-loud moments that characterise the first two-thirds of the show. I understand the message that the show is trying to make, but for such a long set-up the ending comes as a bit too rushed (which in a sense, seems like the only way it would happen) and to borrow a phrase from someone who saw the show with me: they lure you in just to kick you in the balls. Good thing the luring in is as amusing as it, or else I wouldn't forgive the kick in the balls - as necessary, or as socially minded as it may be. B

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