Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Axis Company Presents "Bad Kid" by David Crabb - A Master Class in Storytelling
It was clear to me in the first few moments of "Bad Kid" that we were in the presence of a consummate storyteller in the person of playwright and performer David Crabb. Co-written and directed by Josh Matthews, "Bad Kid" is a very intimate tale of growing up gay and goth in Texas.
Mr. Crabb first developed this dramatization of his life story in 2012, and it was an instant critical success and audience favorite. He returns with this reprise of the show to celebrate the publishing of this same story in memoir form. With effective Lighting by Amy Harper and a pulsating Sound Design by Steve Fontaine, Mr. Crabb turns the Axis Black Box into several spaces - his home in San Antonio, a friend's trailer, a club where he is encouraged to climb out of his shell, the front seat of his Dad's pick-up truck.
The performance begins with Mr. Crabb explicitly inviting the audience to live his story with him. He asks the question: "Have you ever felt that you did not fit in?" And audience members responded with personal recollections of growing up "different." What an effective way to get buy-in and to create a sense of a shared adventure. From that moment,we were no longer individual audience members; we were a community.
As Mr. Crabb talked and danced and sang us through several episodes of his young life, beginning in his teens, he assumed the guise of several key characters - his histrionic mother, his Good Ole Boy dad, his fellow traveler and best friend, his drug-addled sardonic friend, Sylvia, and his imposing skinhead buddy who befriended and protected him.
Mr. Crabb is gifted in his ability to set a wide variety of emotional tones as he tells his tale - sardonic, desperate, vulnerable, defiant, curious, and poignant. This is an extraordinarily well executed bit of theater, and well worth making a trip down to Sheridan Square in the West Village. Performances continue Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM through August 1.
Axis Company Website