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Porn Rock: An Unintentional Comedy

ensemble theatre · the ichabod's cranium players · Ages 16+ · world premiere · United States of America

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June 16, 2016 certified reviewer

What I liked

The script, the live music, most of the acting

What I didn't like

Some of the actors seemed to not be as rehearsed as some of the others.

My overall impression

After a rehearsal for a show I was directing at Sacred Fools, I randomly met someone from the cast of this show and we got to talking. He started telling me about the premise and my interest was immediately piqued. It sounded right up my alley. As a teenager of the 80’s whose very first concert experience was Motley Crue, I remembered all this happening. I remember being outraged. I remember seeing Tipper Gore as the enemy. I remembered fearing the government who wanted to take away artists’ freedom of speech. I had to see for myself what this play was all about. I was not disappointed.

The script by Lawrence Meyers (who turned out to be the brother of an old theatre-mate…small world) is largely taken from the actual transcripts of the Senate Committee hearing. It was fascinating to hear words that were actually spoken inside that room over 30 years ago. (And also quite amusing to hear Tipper Gore use the profane language contained in some of the so-called “dangerous” lyrics.) I also liked that the playwright opened the show by coming out and “setting the scene” for the audience.

The clear standout in this show though, is Don Schlossman as Al Gore. My first thought when he walked on stage was ‘Oh..he doesn’t look anything like Al Gore’ (stupid—I know, it’s a show at the HFF, not a Hollywood movie with a multi-million dollar budget.) But that thought was quickly eradicated as soon as he opened his mouth. Schlossman somehow managed to successfully embody the speech and mannerisms of Gore while getting laughs almost every time he spoke (and even when he didn’t.) I was completely and utterly with him on this crazy ride. He was superb.

Scott Nelson as the peace-loving John Denver was also a joy to watch. With his soft-spoken demeanor and a smile that never left his face, he truly embodied the essence of the late folk musician.

The censor-happy antics of the tightly-wound Republican Senator Paula Hawkins played by Elizabeth Dement that were scattered throughout the performance were not only on point, but hilarious as well.

And finally, the rock n roll music played live by Warrant guitarist Rick Steier was most enjoyable. Especially to this old-school rock n roll fan.

Bravo Porn Rock! Nicely done!

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