BWW Reviews: CHARLOTTE SQUAWKSX: TEN CAROLINA COMMANDMENTS
CHARLOTTE SQUAWKSX: TEN CAROLINA COMMANDMENTS is at Blumenthal Performing Arts Booth Playhouse until June 29, 2014. Presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts and WFAE.
I'm always impressed with the caliber of talent I see in our queen city and CHARLOTTE SQUAWKSX: TEN CAROLINA COMMANDMENTS, in its tenth year, is no exception. If you haven't gotten to see this show poke fun at Charlotte, it's not too late to buy a ticket and laugh. This was my first year attending. CHARLOTTE SQUAWKS is clever. At times the writing is mawkish, but that is its unadulterated charm. Writer, Brian Kahn, a litigation attorney and director, Mike Collins, WFAE personality, bring together a tribal commune of actors squawking at the absurdity of our unique city, our country and our world.
Under and upper currents played out onstage lift up the concept of money and greed dictating Charlotte's decisions. Ah,... what a reality. In this show, Kahn couples expressive lyrics with just the most fitting song for perfect satire. All political parties are fair game, whether singing about Governor McCrory being NC conservative power player, Art Pope's "bitch," President Obama's questionable Obama Care or Hillary Clinton's Benghazi debacle, all's fair with CHARLOTTE SQUAWKS.
Performer, Kevin Harris' voice was superb in "Soiled Dan River" about the coal ash problem, a parody on "Old Man River." Performer, Johanna Jowett's comic timing was impeccable in an SNLesque news segment called "Squawk News" reporting on the visiting nun's homosexual speech at Charlotte Catholic High School. Susan Roberts Knowlson demonstrated zeal in "Don't Try to Change Harris Teeter" a parody on "Don't Cry for Me Argentina." Her powerful voice had intention to keep Teeter "Kroger" free. Megan Midkiff belted it out with "Freaking Snow" a parody of "Let it Go." And the band (off stage) was outstanding in complementing every shtick.
On three screens onstage, CHARLOTTE SQUAWKS lampooned local commercials that we've seen a thousand times; very low brow, but funny. It was fitting to have a musical number with men in banana costumes bid farewell to Chaquita Banana corporate headquarters. Some numbers I could have done without, the performances were great but the material just kind of sat there and a few numbers seemed like retreads of past years.
When I heard the news of Patrick Cannon's arrest, I thought, "Wow, CHARLOTTE SQUAWKS has easy fodder for this year." The "Patrick Cannon" segment was performed tongue in cheek poetic by performer, Bobby Tyson, clutching prison bars while being embraced by a fellow inmate. This show wouldn't be complete without addressing Charlotte's firm Southern Baptist denomination in Myers Park and the pop culture of Steven Furtick's Elevation Church with multiple screens showing Furtick in blond locks.
Some people might think CHARLOTTE SQUAWKSX: TEN CAROLINA COMMANDMENTS goes too far. I think it doesn't go far enough.... All in all, it's a highbrow, lowbrow, funny show. They call out what we've all been thinking. I'll come back for more. If you're a Charlottean, or even a Gastonian (yes, they made fun of you) don't miss it!