TheatreLAB’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Entertains, Leaves You Wanting More

hedwigThe biggest superstar to hit Richmond right now is Hedwig, a “slip of a girlyboy” from East Berlin.

TheatreLAB’s production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” is nearing the end of its extended run and if you’re looking for an entertaining musical romp that will leave you feeling on a great high, go see this show.

The up and coming theatre company’s new space, The Basement (which is an actual basement!), is in mid-renovation and that works perfectly in this production as Hedwig performs in a less-than-glamourous environment – but the show is anything but. Hedwig comes out in full regalia, the band rocks out and the audience is taken to a time of glam rock. The show is interactive. Audience participation was mandatory. The front row had beer spit upon them. One guy had Hedwig’s crotch in his face. Expect to sing along, but odds are you will want to anyway.

Hedwig, played by Matt Shofner, is the undisputed star of this production. For an uninterrupted 90-minute performance, Shofner goes from vulgar and entertaining to dramatic and vulnerable without missing a beat. The vocal range and ability Shofner brings to the stage is nothing less than astounding. Hedwig is a role he was born to play and it’s very clear he is enjoying every minute of playing the part.

Bianca Bryan, who plays Yitzhak, Hedwig’s Croatian male husband and back-up singer, gets her chance to shine repeatedly throughout the show before a dramatic finale that leaves the audience cheering.

And not to be overlooked are bandmates The Angry Inch, consisting of Starlet Knight, Forrest Link, Joe Lubman and Greg Elingburg, who are on stage the entire performance. The band perfectly brings together all the various themes of the show and translates them perfectly into sound. The Angry Inch is as much a part of the show as Hedwig.

The sound was flawless. I could hear every note perfectly and wasn’t distracted by noise or feedback. I’ve seen shows in music venues with sound quality that pales in comparison to what this show was able to pull off in a small space. Kudos to the sound tech crew.

I cannot say enough good things about “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” I left the performance wanting to see it all over again. Very few shows can have that effect.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” runs through Dec. 6. Tickets can be purchased at theatrelabrva.org.

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