REVIEW – Boom – Renegade Theater Experiment

Mother fucker.  Let me repeat in case you missed it. Mother.  Fucker.  If you’re going to see Boom, presented by Renegade Theater Experiment, you’re going to need to embrace this word. You’re not only going to need to embrace it, you’re going to need to acknowledge its beauty, its versatility and its magnetic allure. You’re going to need to hear it, smell it and feel it vibrate in your every cavity. You’ll need to accept its gentle passion as well as its ugly rage. You’ll probably need to gargle with it for good measure. It wouldn’t hurt if you composed a haiku to it as well. You’ll need to take it on a romantic date and definitely cop a somewhat questionable feel. But, most of all, you’ll need to motherfucking appreciate the mother fucking word and give it some motherfucking respect. And, if you can do that, if you can stop flinching at it and cease judging it, I wager you’re going to truly appreciate Boom.

Three human characters walk and in some instances drum machine us through a crazy and topical apocalyptic scenario in this tremendously clever, extremely witty and exceedingly bizarre, 90 minute play. Be ready for it when they throw out the first line as you are very much thrown into the deep end and left to wade at first. Never fear though, the situation definitely reveals itself in pieces and it’s going to make sense eventually. Well as much as it’s going to “make sense” that is. While it’s easy to feel like you’ve missed something, just be patient, will you. Have a little motherfucking patience is all I’m saying.

The actors are seriously sitcom ready. Any one of them could take these characters and/or their mad skills and dominate any prime time network ratings week. All of them shamelessly committed to the humor and the seriousness required for that humor to work. Their performances are nuanced and smart, a perfect blend of subtle realism and farcical over-the-topness. Hand gestures, facial expressions, vocalizations, all varied and totally amusing. One of the characters even serves as a kind of co-author (and perhaps the director as well) as they create a non-verbal lexicon that is only suggestive in the script. I can’t explain to you how difficult that is and our actress handled it like a motherfucking pro. Pacing was spot on (no intermission, no breaks, active listening skills engaged fully from the whole cast.) Staging was 100% natural and believable, none of it forced, no one compromised and effective use of the entire space.

And, yes, let’s talk about that mother fucking space shall we? The set is truly a gift. Eye candy. It tells a story of its own and it’s full of more surprises than General Petraeus inbox. From design to construction to properties/dressings, the set does what every set should do, period. Very rarely do I get the urge to walk on a set, but I had to exercise exceptional restraint so as to not leap up and pick at all the little bits and jokes that lay hidden amongst it.

I’d be a total motherfucker (and not in the good way) if I didn’t mention the brilliant sound design. Music, sound effects, amplifications, practical sound, sounds synching up with a stellar lighting design…the requirements for this show sound-wise are a tall order to begin with, but the designer went way beyond the call of duty on this one. It was solid from pre-show through curtain call, adding yet another notch of detailed, layered, professional awesomeness to this show’s belt.

The attention to details throughout this production really built a world I could believe in and kind of maybe sort of wouldn’t mind living in, in a sort of twisted okay, totally fucked up way. Although, I’m not 100% sure everyone will think this play was quite as hysterical as I did, I do think you’ll be able to enjoy the totally unique script, the fantastic production value and some fine, fine acting. 4 ½ motherfucking jewels out of 5 in the motherfucking review tiara. Boom plays at the Historic Hoover Theater in San Jose through December 1st.

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