Friday, December 17, 2010

Jenny & Jenni- The Factory Theater (theatre review)

As a reviewer, sometimes I like to take my friends to see plays with me. This time, I took Michael Dailey, Tom Hickey and Anita Deely. They LOVE Factory Theater productions, so I was sure we’d have a good time.

First we went out to dinner at Chief O’Neill’s restaurant and drinkery. The reason we went to this Irish teach was because it was the only place close and also they gave us 2 for 1 appetizers and entrees because we had tickets to the show. The following is a conversation we had following the performance and after we went back to the Irish place for deserts.

Tom: That was a good show. I particularly liked the actor who played... what was the main character’s name again?

Andy: I can’t remember. Something like...Susan.

Tom: Right. Well, whoever played her friend was amazing.

Andy: At first I wasn’t sure what was happening, because there was a voice over and this one guy was dressed like a Mexican. He was all telling these other kids about Spanish, and then they tried to beat him up! But it turned out it was a girl instead! The play Jenny & Jenni at the omnipresent Factory Theater is about 2 girls who were always picked on and so they decide to get even by being even nerdier and doing exercises that are usually good for old men. They do little circles with their arms and then they do some, like, cheerleader moves, but not as good as cheerleaders. Tom, what did you have for dinner again?

Mike: I really wish I could have read the play beforehand. The language was difficult to understand. Was this play in Spanish?

Anita: Tom is having steak. You never have steak, do you Tom? When was the last time you had a steak?

Tom: Actually, last night I...

Anita: Don’t ruin it!

Mike: So guys, during the play did you try to keep an open mind about the choices the director had made about the production while evaluating their effectiveness? I was going to, but I forgot.

Andy: I paid attention and here is what I have to say about it-

Mike: Is there anything better then sausages piled high atop a mountain of mashed potatoes?

Anita: Yes there is!

Mike: Covered in gravy?

Anita: Nope, nothing better.

Andy: GUYS! Let’s focus on the play we saw! Now what was everyone’s favorite moment?
My favorite moment was when the girls were in trouble and hooked on drugs and then a dragon came out. That dragon symbolizes being in trouble with drugs.

Mike: Oh! I thought the dragon symbolized ‘working out’. I still have nightmares about that dragon.

Andy: You see, there’s this lady named Lola who is really mean to the girls, even though she has everything. She is very successful and handsome and has rich parents that love her, so why is she so mean to the nerds?

Mike: I guess, deep down, she still doesn’t love herself. In spite of money and the love of her parents, she is sad inside. You ever notice that in fake world (TV,movies and plays) it always sucks to be rich and have non-divorced, loving parents?

Andy: Yeah, I have. I think that’s a device that writers use to show that someone can just be inherently evil. They used to do it a lot with Princes and Queens.

Mike: Yeah, one thing fake world has taught us is that the more troubled your fake life is, the more interesting you will be. And happy! Yay divorce and poverty!!

Anita: I liked when the play got all Scottish, all of a sudden.

Andy: Oh yeah. There was this actor in the play named Wm. Bullion, and I have to tell you that I think he is great. He has been good in everything I have seen him in, so far.

Mike: Matt Engle really rocked that wig too. He is one of Chicago’s premiere wig actors. Did he have a wig in Ren Faire? If he did, I bet he rocked that shit.

Andy: I think the real beauty here was the direction. The script was funny, but Laura McKenzie really took the reins of that bitch and jazzercized it to health.

Mike: Agreed Andy. This thing moved. Oh man. Speaking of moving quickly. Mashed potatoes. Sausages. Gravy. Will you all excuse me for a moment. Need to go to the little boys room.

The conversation went on like this for hours and hours until we finally had to go home, but here’s the basic rundown of what you need to know for the show this weekend:

1.Shannon O’Neill wrote a good script that is just right for the Factory. If you aren’t a Factory fan then you should probably go see something else like “The Sing Off” on NBC.

2.Christine Jennings shoves her lovability down your throat and you will leave with a new fave on the stage.

3.What really makes this play good is the direction.

4.The Factory is the only theatre company in town making loud, bawdy, original comedies. They aren’t based on the music of someone, or stolen from a movie, they are original and they really tell a story that, when you dig deep down, says something universal for us all.

Jenny & Jenni says: “Love yourself regardless of your imperfections, because you are great.” That’s something we all need to hear sometimes.


-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach, Tom Hickey, Anita Deely, Michael Dailey

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