Get Cultured — June 24, 2015 at 3:35 pm

“Punk As Fuck” is Not Hardcore, But It Is Charming

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DSC_1157Oh, the good old days! I’m talking about the days when if you wanted to start a band, you had to provide the garage to practice in. You didn’t have Facebook, so to find the perfect bunch of misfits to partake in your rock star dream was a lot harder. But once everything clicked, those jam sessions were part of the best memories you would ever have in your life. Punk As Fuck by Michael K. White and Dianna Stark, is set during this time, 1991 to be more exact, and what they’ve created is a John Hughes inspired exploration of life and love, which mostly works, but at the end falls short of being the provocative work it wants to be.

The story revolves around the romance between badass drummer Cassandra and lost good-guy Simon, who both are part of the band that CAGE aka Dewayne has formed. There’s one slight problem, Cassandra is CAGE’s girlfriend. Kisky Holwerda, Quinn Wise, and Preston Mulligan have such great chemistry that they not only give these characters life, but they also transport us to this era. Finishing the cast of characters are the often-hilarious couple of Lee and Daisy, played by Russell Sperberg and Alexis Robbins. These two characters serve as the comedic backbone of this 90’s drama. Alexis specifically steals every scene she is in with her manipulations and instigations. Daisy is the fool of this story, and a mean one at that. Alexis nails it.

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The actors are helped by sharp dialogue and a sense of nostalgia that overtakes those of us that lived through these times. But punk is more than just a word. It’s more than just music. It’s a state of being which is ready to change and create through anarchism. This show does that, and it is both what sets it apart and what takes away from it. The show’s timeline is non-linear, a broken structure that, like a puzzle, comes together little by little. By the end, we know the decisions all the characters have made and what their future might look like, but it’s not enough. The play is ambitious but the story falls short of its ambition, giving us at the end more of a scratch on the surface than a complete digging of the theme. This ended up leaving me both satisfied and disappointed.

Another problem that takes away from this production was the use of space. I get that the script’s transitions are unconventional and that the time jumping might be hard to convey on stage, but Director Katherine Sommer had an issue staging them in a way that would grab our attention. The blocking seemed to have been put together last minute, with the actors in questionable places at times. If the space itself didn’t help, neither did the lack of music. For a show named after a music-based movement, they had barely any of it. This is not to say the production killed the script –far from it — but it might have diminished the power of it.

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The work by costume designer Anaïs Koivisto is an aspect of this show that needs to be mentioned. A big part of why this production works is because of how well the characters represent that era. The costume design was the piece that completed their transformation, and aided their performances.

“Punk As Fuck” is a nice throwback love story created with modern storytelling that wishes to explore the reasoning between desire and future. While it might not have been as punk as I wanted it to be, it was a nice stroll down memory lane. The feelings these characters have are universal. This story is many of our stories. The people at Everyday Inferno Theatre put up a good production that is enjoyable, if not memorable. If the company produces this show again, I would be interested to see it and I recommend you do, too. After all, the beauty of theater is that no two productions are the same.

Out of 4 stars, I give it:

two-and-a-half-stars

 Twisted Talk: Have you seen this show? What did you think of it? Discuss below!

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