The Midnight Menagerie

comedy · the bardic bastards · Ages 15+ · United States of America

world premiere
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June 14, 2018 certified reviewer

What I liked

I like that this show can hit a timely premise (the evils of Old Hollywood) while also being completely genre and fun.

I also think Niko Papastefanou gives a standout performance, and Brandon Nicolas Pfeltz has written a great script.

What I didn't like

I feel like there were times when I wanted some arguments or conversations to be softer. It’s a dark comedy so you want your dialogue to hit hard and fast, but I’d like to see the actors live in the soft moments a little longer. Would be cool for the play to find a perfect balance between its big loud confrontations and its softer discussions.

My overall impression

This is a very entertaining play. A group of evil Hollywood types (e.g. skeevy producers, greedy agents, narcissistic actors) gather at an embittered screenwriter’s house where potentially fatal shenanigans ensue. The play gets awesomely bonkers in ways that only great dark comedies can, yet it also has very grounded moments of drama that make the characters feel honest and real (I’m thinking of Marilyn’s monologue to Rose near the end, and Erol’s monologue to Marilyn at the end that were particularly strong). The playwright writes very thoughtful, fun material, and all of the actors deliver their lines with confidence and listen with empathy. I’m a fan of this play and a fan of the Bardic Bastards, the theater group that’s responsible for producing this play and other smart dark comedies. I look forward to seeing all other plays they produce and highly encourage everyone to go see this show. You will be very happy you did!

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