peteg's blog - noise - theatre - 2015 04 13 BalmInGilead

Griffin Theatre: Balm in Gilead.

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Goldstar: $17.50 + $5.00 = $22.50, 2015-04-06. This is the second show put on in Season on the Line. I walked up to Pot Pan Thai for dinner, and cranked some more PLDI-paper stuff at the Den Theatre cafe beforehand. I was a bit surprised that it was packed on a Monday night, with a week to run. Perhaps because of this, or just because, they started about fifteen minutes late, which was hardly an ordeal as the play lends itself to random horseplay amongst the large cast when nothing in particular is happening. Initially the thing is totally overwhelming, with no centre to the action, and the ambient noise confusing the overlapping dialogue. While the leads where very good (especially the luminous ingenue Ashleigh Lathrop), and the production quite sound, it was difficult for me to really get into this despite deeply enjoying the milieu; the seedy side of NYC was strip mined between 1964 and the 1970s by people like Lou Reed, and sundry junkie flicks, which robs this of any possibility of being transgressive in 2015. It also loses a lot of momentum in the monologue straight after interval. We filed out under the timeless Nina Simone standard Sinnerman.

Upon reflection I was perhaps not so much disappointed with the play as with Chicago: I have yet to find a diner that anchors so diverse a crowd.

Zac Thompson probably saw the definitive version of it in 1980.