I recently saw a preview of The Wild Party, what Sound Theatre calls the “first rehearsal with an audience” and I was absolutely blown away. Granted this is not a show for everyone… the characters are mostly clad in underwear and lingerie, when they are clad in anything at all (there is some brief nudity), there are onstage sex scenes not just a slight hint of sexual conduct but full on SEX SCENES. This is not a show for everyone but it is most definitely my kind of show! I love seeing plays that push the boundaries and prove that theatre is just as daring as film, if not more so. It takes balls for actors to get naked in front of an audience of sometimes staunchy Seattle theatre-goers and still deliver an outstanding performance and this production of The Wild Party pulled it of with talent and grace.
The Wild Party is based on Joseph Moncure March’s 1928 poem about the excess of parties, sex, and art of the roaring 20’s. Andrew Lippa’s musical tells the story of lovers Queenie and Burrs and the wild party they plan. I love the fact that this boundary pushing play is set in the 1920’s when people were just beginning to rebel and the sexual revolution was on the rise. It is a beautiful period piece, with the costumes, make-up and sets, but the story still has modern themes. The play is mostly music the whole way through and the songs in the musical pull from March’s original poetry. I have to be honest I do not usually enjoy musicals that are strictly music without any dialogue. However, The Wild Party made me really appreciate this genre. The songs and bits of rhyming dialogue made sense because it was based on a narrative that told a story and if it wasn’t a song it was poetry so the whole show flowed brilliantly.
The production on a whole was spot on. I loved the ambiance made by the lighting and when characters smoked their “cigarettes” and the stage filled with smoke it added so much more to that ambiance. If anything I would say have every actor “smoking” so the stage is always smoky, for me it added so much to the dirty party feel. All of the actors were amazingly talented performers. But Allison Standley as Kate particularly stood out as “the life of the party.” She played a solid character all the way through and her music numbers were a lot of fun.
I also appreciated the fine art gallery in the lobby. Ryan Henry Ward has curated a display of erotic art that you can view as you walk into the theatre. Not only does it set the mood for the show it is curated by my favorite Seattle artist, Henry!
I would definitely recommend seeing The Wild Party while you can. I saw the very first show and I know it can only get better from here!! This is an evening of theatre not to be missed.
by Lacy Sarco