Saturday, May 30, 2009

What a world

One thing is certain: the World/Inferno Friendship Society can
really rock. But as far as a theatrical offering goes, the group's
"Addicted to Bad ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century" is not particularly theatrical. That doesn't mean the band doesn't provide a totally entertaining evening of entertainment while
sort of following the life of the actor Peter Lorre, who was an acclaimed actor in Germany before coming to the U.S. where he appeared in many acclaimed (as well as really bad) movies.
It's hard from this show to get much of a sense of Lorre's life. Singer Jack Terricloth does a fine job of sort-of playing the actor down to the weird accent and mannerisms. The show very effectively uses clips from Lorre movies, which have been manipulated, but not too much, which are shows on a triple screen above the stage. These screens are also used to project live video of the band members. A couple of the players also take on brief roles of people in Lorre's life, but there's no real attempt to "act" and one points out how absurd it is that he's playing a role in a play when he's just a rock musician.
The largest problem in telling the story of Lorre is that the lyrics are unintelligible. (Lyrics sheets are available, but on a recent night they ran out.)
Regardless, this is still an exhilarating, rockin' show. Peter would be proud.
"Addicted to Bad Ideas" continues tonight and Sunday.

1 comment:

  1. A World Inferno fan once remarked to me that ATBI is really about Jack Terricloth rather than Peter Lorre, and that's probably the best way to understand it. Although I do think there's a rock and roll sensibility to Peter's art (and I suspect he would have gone into rock and roll rather than theater if he'd been born in 1944 rather than 1904) he wasn't a self-destructive anarchist driven to oblivion as portrayed by Mr. Cloth (e.g., he became addicted to morphine while recovering from gall bladder surgery and was never a recreational drug user, unless you count chain-smoking--he did not use cocaine as stated in "Hey Peter Lorre.") The last song in the show should be properly called "Stroke '64," since that's what he died of.

    I also have to disagree with you about Mr. Cloth's Peter Lorre impersonation--it's hopeless (a fellow Peterfan who saw the show at Webster Hall described his Peter as sounding British.) But Mr. Cloth is not an actor, he's a rock and roll star. What's fascinating about his show is not what insights he brings to the real Peter Lorre but the insights that Peter gives him about himself (Jack's real name is Peter, btw.)


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