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BWW Review: SHEER MADNESS at Beef & Boards - A Cut Above the Rest


The production runs from December 28th through February 5th

BWW Review: SHEER MADNESS at Beef & Boards - A Cut Above the Rest

Comedy, crime, and quick wits describe every minute of SHEAR MADNESS. This piece is the longest running play in American theater for a reason. It combines a little of all your theatrical favorites with some location-specific additions and even audience participation.

As a fan of true crime and comedy, I came into this performance ready to hunt a killer and bust a gut at the same time. I was not disappointed. Beef & Boards must be applauded for bringing this hit back to their stage. The performance itself is so clever because it starts with a script, but it also has an abundance of leeway for the performers (and the audience) to influence how it all progresses. One of my favorite aspects was the use of regional references. You can have no doubt that the action is taking place right here in Indianapolis, and the local flavor made it much more fun. Since the audience gets to participate in the action, the performers have the unenviable task of riffing off whatever is said. Luckily, Beef & Boards is known for stellar, professional casting, and every performer took each new question or statement in stride without skipping a beat.

If you are curious about how the audience participates, you have a few options throughout the evening. For a portion of the action, you stand only as a witness to what's happening. Then you can participate passively by raising a hand to call into question something that has been said or done, you can call out to correct something, and at one point you can even question the performers. I like this variety of options because you can be incredibly involved or sit back and enjoy the hilarity coming from the performers and audience alike. This adds an additional charm: you could see this play multiple times in a row and not have the same experience. That's an incredible feature for any theatergoer.

It is nearly impossible to choose just one or two performers to highlight because they were all so exceptional, but here are some of the ways each performer stood out to me. Daniel Klingler as Tony Whitcomb is a ball of energy and fun from start to finish. Even when he's not speaking, you want to watch him because he's so dynamic. Jenny Reber as Barbara DeMarco has clearly taken time to create a full-blown persona for her character, complete with mannerisms and attitudes you can't miss. David Buergler as Mikey Thomas does a great job of being the scapegoat for a lot of the physical comedy. Michael Shelton as Eddie Lawrence was one of the best at interacting with the audience when they participated. Suzanne Stark as Mrs. Eleanor Shubert just oozed personality and had a presence whether she was in the main action or just off stage. Finally, Jeff Stockberger as Nick Rosetti was wonderful at orchestrating the balance between the stage and the audience and interacting seamlessly with both.

Start your new year with an evening jam-packed with fun at SHEAR MADNESS! Remember, every performance is different, so audiences can always expect a surprise. SHEAR MADNESS will be appearing on the Beef & Boards stage from now until February 5th. Don't miss out on this unique and interactive experience!

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