THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

REVIEWS

Justin Locklear, Mitchell Parrack

Review: The Butcher | Balanced Almond | Ochre House


One-Stop Chop

Matthew Posey gives us several theatrical pleasures at once with The Butcher.



published Thursday, May 19, 2011
1 comment


The mad theatrical genius of Exposition Park, Matt Posey, is never at a loss for original ideas, regularly plumbing the far reaches of performance, and melding classic elements with contemporary in what are always entertaining creations. 

For his latest work, Posey has ventured once again into the realm of the musical with The Butcher, savagely harmonizing at one of the coolest little theaters in town, The Ochre House

Butcher transports the audience to wartime Ireland into the home/shop of butcher Zachary Blut (Posey) and his wife Gerty (Elizabeth Evans). What with it being wartime, meat is scarce, especially pork. So, imagine Zachary’s good fortune when he comes across a black market, and surprisingly verbose, pig (a puppet operated and voiced by Kevin Grammer). The butcher could easily sell the delicacy to any number of British noblemen for a hefty profit. Unfortunately though, as the world has a way of enacting cruel circumstance, the same day he comes into possession of the pig is the day his butcher shop is due for inspection by Cygnus Taylor (Grammer). To be caught with the contraband is a crime punishable by death. 

When attempts to hide the bounty fail, and bribery gets him nowhere, the butcher turns to the next logical conclusion and initiates a traumatic spiral into the depths of human depravity. 

Outwardly acting to drive the plot forward are the homeless, blind twins, Castor (Justin Locklear) and Pollux (Mitchell Parrack). The Greek influence in their naming can’t be ignored as it’s a blatant nod to their status as a sort of hybrid Greek chorus, though later in the show they take a much more active role in the proceedings. 

And providing the eerie, Weill-esque soundtrack for the evening is the combo of Ross Mackey on guitar, Bobby Nazem on percussion and Scott Shaddock on keyboard. 

Posey has a solid group around him at the Ochre House and he once again is able to conjure all the talent to the surface, as both the cast and musicians impress.

Evoking images of Helena Bonham-Carter, Evans strikes an exacting balance between the good-hearted, submissive wife and maddening desperation. She flips between the masks as if flipping a light switch.

Locklear and Parrack possess strong chemistry and deftly maintain their more comic tones despite being dropped right in the middle of what would otherwise be a horrifying tragedy. The ability to maintain proper tone in dark comedy is a difficult feat to master, and they stick the landing.

In pulling double duty and puppeting a giant pig, Grammer certainly merits special mention. The distinction between the pig and the inspector might seem like an easy task to accomplish. But, even with two such different roles, playing more than one character can be quite difficult and Grammer aces the challenge, complete with at least one impressive quick change.

Matt Posey is just an imposing figure. His charisma radiates from the stage and his presence is nearly suffocating. It’s like he’s Superman and the stage is Earth’s yellow sun. He derives power from it and transforms into another person, a terrifying, if not just desperate, butcher in this case. He is intimidating, which naturally means he is successful. 

A constant hallmark of Posey’s pieces is the influence of art forms, both classical and international, that today’s average theatergoer may not be familiar with.

In Butcher, Posey gives the story an international flair by the use of Japanese bunraku with the elaborately grotesque pig puppet, Greek tragedy, and a little Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht flavor thrown in with more than a passing reference to it being a “light opera,” like Weill and Brecht’s famous The Threepenny Opera.

And it’s this combination of inventiveness and stylistic attentiveness that makes Posey’s creations must-sees. It’s didactic theater at its finest. The Butcher pulls the veil back on the darker side of human nature, but balances out the dark tones with entertaining music and apt comic relief.

It’s finely marbled tragedy served up bloody with a side of whimsy and comedy. In other words, a show you can really sink your teeth into. Thanks For Reading




Comments:

Kim writes:
Friday, May 20 at 3:32PM

Who wrote the music?


Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
One-Stop Chop
Matthew Posey gives us several theatrical pleasures at once with The Butcher.
by Kris Noteboom

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Snowflakes Watertower Theatre Blue Candlelight Bruce Wood Dance Project Application Pending Ballet Frontirs of Texas John Uptown Players Texas In Paris UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit