The Xavier Theatre’s production is timely and poignant, with a twist of old-fashioned style
Photo courtesy of Xavier Theatre | The most recent Xavier Theatre production grapples with current issues in the context of the past. A young Andrew Jackson (Josh Carandang) is placed in the current time.
If you were one of the lucky ticket holders at last weekend’s sold-out performances of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, the show probably rocked your world. For those of you who didn’t sneak a peek, allow me to paint you a picture.
The lobby is filled with fog seeping out from a perhaps unfamiliar studio stage, the entrance to the left of the Gallagher Theater. Inside, the walls are completely covered with newspaper clippings and political propaganda. Wooden picnic tables, benches and risers fill in the space not already occupied by the stage. And then there’s the sound of angsty pop punk music humming over the speakers, reminding you of the early 2000s when you drew on your Converse with sharpie and lined your eyes with thick black pencil.
And then it hits you. The music, the costumes, the lights all wake you the hell up and warn you to strap in for the ride.
I really have to commend Xavier Theatre for picking such a timely show that packs a serious punch. We follow Josh Carandang as Andrew Jackson from childhood to death, as he yells, whines and sings about how hard it is to be himself when he doesn’t get what he wants. He’s so obviously a villain, but Carandang captures Jackson’s confidence and ego in a way that convinced the audience that pink hair glitter and black skinny jeans are the uniform of the ultimate ladykiller. We all know from Into the Woods that Carandang has some serious pipes, but in this star role we also saw how well Carandang could hold the attention of a crowd and capture the nuance of such an over-the-top character.
The ensemble was also very impressive, with punchy vocal performances from Ellie Conniff as Female Soloist/Announcer/Naomi and Annie Mayer as Red Eagle/University President. Some other standouts were first-years Hyehyun Hwang as Lyncoya with a hauntinly beautiful vocal performance, Michael Rowlett as the quirky and flamboyant Van Buren and Seth Mobley as the charismatic Bandleader. Except for a few ensemble members who didn’t always blend in well, Bloody Bloody was incredibly well-casted, and the ensemble was able to work together well.
The lighting design and sound design for this show were incredibly immersive and really brought the entire atmosphere together. Along with the band’s participation in the actual performance, audience members were truly able to feel like a part of the show and not just simple viewers of a performance.
Xavier Theatre started out this semester with a bang, a yell and a politically charged emo rock musical. It looks like there is plenty of energy and spirit left from Bloody Bloody to impress audiences through the rest of the season. I’m eager to see what the next few shows will offer, and I hope that they, too, will rock our world.
By: Hannah Paige Michels ~Campus News Editor~