BWW Review: Hedwig Rocks to the Strum of Her Guitar in HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
Before Hedwig was the semi-known rock star she is today, she was a resident of East Berlin during the Cold War who found solace in American rock music. This influence led her West to America where she continued finding herself and her other half. It is this longing for her unknown other half that pushes her narrative six inches forward and gives this hero her quest. Through flashy lights and electric guitar, Hedwig and the Angry Inch brings a genderqueer rock story from East Berlin to Western Pennsylvania in over-the-top fashion.
When Hedwig finds herself touring the country, she must learn how to work a crowd, and fast. Euan Morton's performance was no exception to this. He strutted and teased across the stage, reacting to the audience in real time but never missing a beat in the script or an opportunity to hair toss.
Hedwig's husband, Yitzhak, was played by Hannah Corneau, and like Mr. Morton, Ms. Corneau's voice rang through the theatre. Everything from a Whitney Houston belt to a raspy rock riff came out of this queen's mouth.
Nothing was off limits in this touring production of Hedwig, though. The personalized nature of the show took aim at all things Pittsburgh, from the President and CEO of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust J. Kevin McMahon, to a beloved family restaurant, Eat'n Park, to the city Pittsburghers love so much, Cleveland. Needless to say, this only added to the already humor-rich script.
This particular production did have drawbacks, however. When going to the theatre, I am expecting to have some type of emotional or psychological reaction, good or bad or other, but not a physically uncomfortable sensation.
The stand-up show / rock concert featured strobe lighting that was pointed both on stage and at the audience. Although I can appreciate the importance of the lighting to the plot and songs, I sincerely do not believe that my blue eyes should have had tears struck out of them from the blinding flashing lights. That's a rock concert, though.
The no-intermission format allowed for Hedwig's entire story to be told more seamlessly than her transformation to a woman, which adds yet another layer to the searching and wandering, semi-lost but confident character. There is some resolution in the end for Hedwig, but not by conventional means; she wouldn't do it any other way.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is presented by PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. The national tour's limited Pittsburgh engagement ends at the Benedum Center on January 25.
To see or not to see score: 6/9; Moderately Recommended Show
Photo by: Joan Marcus