BWW Reviews: Scratch that Itch with Equinox Theatre's Enticingly Executed BUG
It has come to my attention that a couple of off-color comments I made in this review crossed the line. Because of my respect for the director, actors and this fine company, I have withdrawn the sentence in question and extend my apologizies. I realize that my sarcasm and wit can go a little far at times, and this comment was never meant to be mean or malicious. I seek to offer creative criticism for everyone involved and take great pride in my years of work and devotion to the talented theatre companies in Colorado. Again I apologize and that comment has been withdrawn.
Equinox Theatre Company presents Tracy Letts creepy intense drama, BUG playing now through September 20th at the Bug Theatre. A lonely cocktail waitress, Agnes, lives in a seedy motel room, hiding from her violent ex-husband Jerry. One night, her lesbian biker friend R.C. introduces her to Peter, a Gulf War veteran with a mysterious past. Agnes gets involved with Peter, who grows increasingly paranoid about the war in Iraq, UFOs, the Oklahoma City Bombing, cult suicides and supposed secret government experiments on soldiers eventually drawing Agnes into his delusions. This deep and intense thriller deals with issues of love, paranoia, conspiracy theories and Agnes' slow descent into insanity under Peter's influence.
"HAVING A BUG PROBLEM?!?"
Never have the three little letters -WTF applied to a show more than in this twisted intense roller coaster of a play and no other company could embrace this oddity and do it justice like the talented members of Equinox Theatre! The dynamic directing duo of Deb Flomberg and Patrick Brownson cranked up the know on this one with excellent casting that knew how to push their characters to the limits, superb building of intensity throughout and an epic downward spiral that the audience audience could not turn away from! The best compliment compliment that I can give this show did make me itch (as well as several audience members around me)! Couple of things that I would have like to have seen more of would be music in the first party scene to really drive that energy and then the talking over each other would have made sense. Also - call me a crackhead, but I would have had the cast (especially Peter and Agnes) doing more drugs. I wanted them to hit that crack pipe till the audience wanted to do an intervention at intermission. Even with those observations, Act II starts off good instantly and spirals into an absolutely fascinating demise that kept me on the edge of my seat. The set and lighting design by Colin Roybal was awesome and transported the audience into a dingy motel and I loved the set transformation in the end of Act II (but I would have put the cast in bug or hazmat masks for fun. Even with the shabby appearances, I felt that the set desperately screamed for a ratty fan. With this small constantly rotating prop you get symbolism for the helicopter and eerie shadow play for possible things flying around in the dark. I have to commend makeup effects artist, Jessamyn Geesaman on those excellent sore, scabs and sores that added to the insanity and made everyone cringe.
Luke Sorge gave us a strong and impressive Denver debut as the paranoid and intense Peter. While I found him nervous and odd at first and felt that he needed a defining and growing nervous tick; his character growth was sensational and kept my attention. He really elevated his character in the second half and his mad rant conspiracy theory was absolutely fascinating! I was truly in awe of the gorgeous character arch and beautiful tragic downward spiral that the talented Jennifer Bass (also in her Denver debut) infused into Agnes. She carried the show and helped to build that paranoia and sadness with her magnetic performance and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this fine actress in productions to come! Lisa Young as everyone's favorite drug dealing lesbian, RC was a dynamo of energy, attitude, and sass! Aside from her exceptional and bright acting, I also appreciated how she was kept the show centered and gave a sense of gravity to these over the top crackheads; it offered a nice contrast. I have to say that I have seen Luke Terry excel in several other roles in the past, but was disappointed in his portrayal of ex-con, Jerry. His character felt completely flat and void of the domination, intensity, and intimidation needed. Whether real or a figment of the dementia formed by Agnes and Peter, Jim Landis certainly brought the creepy element to the mysterious Dr. Sweet giving us a demented menacing and memorable character.
"Some things are worse than others," but in the case of this intriguingly creepy tale, the worse the bugs get, the better these exceptional actors push themselves and elevate their performances much to the voyeuristic delight of the audience! BUG at the Bug Theatre is making audiences skin crawl now until September 20th. Performances are on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 PM. For tickets or more information on Equinox Theatre contact them by calling (720) 984-0781 or visit them online at www.EquinoxTheatreDenver.com. The Bug Theatre is located at 3654 Navajo Street in Denver.
PLEASE NOTE: Contains drug use and nudity - For Mature Audiences Only
PHOTO CREDIT: DenverMind Media
PICTURED ABOVE: Jennifer Bass as Agnes and Luke Sorge as Peter
Jennifer Bass as Agnes
Luke Sorge as Peter and Jennifer Bass as Agnes