BWW Review: HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at THE HOUSE OF BLUES

Photo of Enoch Augustus Scott as HEDWIG at the House of Blues, May 2017
Photo credit: Richard Brusky
Pictured: Enoch Augustus Scott as HEDWIG

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is performing at Mandalay Bay's House of Blues. House of Blues is a great venue for HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. It is a casual environment suitable for this adult entertainment. And HEDWIG is most definitely adult entertainment. Be aware that HEDWIG is meant to be offensive and get you thinking, and it will.

Upon entering the House of Blues for HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, I was greeted by such an array in the audience; some were dressed casually, some were in costumes, while most of the audience were rockers. HEDWIG is not your average or your traditional musical.

The set was minimal and it was personalized by the performers. The band was set up on stage and there were two microphone stands with stools in front of them on the small dance floor. In the band's instruments you could see signs of personalization, which to me, speaks of the fun and enjoyment that they have while working on the show. I saw He-Man, Wonder Woman, and bandanas hanging from high-hats and symbols. Being in technical theatre I did notice that there were barely any theatrical lighting instruments and just a portable sound board. There were projections and a laptop, so the technical aspects, though done really well, were minimal.

You are warned that it will be an interactive performance, that you are expected to participate, and that anyone is fair game. If you watched the 68th Tony Awards, Neil Patrick Harris did a performance from HEDWIG that was cleaned up for TV, but it gives you a sense of the interaction that will be expected.

The show starts with a drum beat and the other instruments join in to get to the full sound of the band. Yitzhak is the backup singer and we find out later, Hedwig's spouse. Yitzhak is on stage and he introduces Hedwig, who will only come out if the audience makes enough noise. So if the audience isn't into it, I guess the show's over. Well, the audience was into it and we find out that the show starts and it's 1961 in the city of Berlin. This is where the story of Hedwig begins. Before she was Hedwig, she was Hansel Schmidt. He (Hansel) met an American soldier in 1980's who fell in love with him. The only way the soldier could take him away would be to marry and take Hansel back to the US with him. But gay marriage didn't exist and Hansel would have to become Hedwig.

*SPOILER* During the surgery, the doctor botched it up and Hedwig was left with a inch of flesh which healed closed with a slit down the middle. Referred to as the "angry inch".

Hedwig next tells us that it is two years later and her husband divorced her and ran away with a young boy. The rest of the performance is telling us about what has happened after everything s/he gave up.

Enoch Augustus Scott as Hedwig, was fantastic. He has a wonderful rich voice. Hedwig is a rockstar and Enoch is not afraid of singing it raw. There is so much emotion in the subject matter and it was so wonderful to see an actor who was not afraid to "ugly sing" to make sure that the emotional level of the performance was served. I am not sure that HEDWIG could be performed with musical accuracy and have such a level of empathy that Enoch's performance brought.

Photo of the cast of HEDWIG at the House of Blues, May 2017
Photo credit: Richard Brusky
Pictured: Amanda Kraft and the band of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH

Amanda Kraft as Yitzhak was verbally abusive and it was hard to figure out if we should like him or not. Which is how the part was written and not because of the performance of Amanda. Yizhak was a Jewish Drag Queen when his path crossed Hedwig's and through their time together they became inseparable. But is it a mutually abusive relationship, but they do seem to care about each other deep down. In the end, I think we all liked him and cheered him as much as we cheered on Hedwig.

I would recommend this show to anyone who does not mind being offended, they both (Hediwg and Yatzhak) go into the audience and touch, and grind, and verbally abuse members in the audience. Although they do not abuse the audience as much as they abuse each other.

Cast: Enoch Augustus Scott, HEDWIG and Amanda Kraft, Yatzhak (role is also played by Anne Martinez)

Director - Andrew Wright
Musical Director - Susan Easter

The Angry Inch -
Drums - Vince Verderame
Guitar - Elvis Lederer
Guitar - SAndy Stein
Bass - Dave Ostrem
Keys - Susan Easter

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH will be playing on May 18, 19, 20, 25, and 27 at 10:30pm. You can find tickets here.

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