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Eugene Weekly : Theater : 2.15.07

Balls Out

Lord Leebrick's Hedwig rocks gender, lust and love

BY SUZI STEFFEN AND MOLLY TEMPLETON

In Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a performer tells of her journey from East German boy to American woman and adds in bits about talent, identity and loss along the way. The arts editors' conversation after seeing Hedwig on opening night follows.

Hedwig (Adam Goldthwaite) sings the blues. Photo by Jordan Bewley.

SS: Whoa.

MT: Yes. Wow.

SS: There was more narrative in the movie. Adam Goldthwaite (who plays Hedwig and Tommy Gnosis) was amazing, but I couldn't believe it was over when it was over!

MT: I haven't seen the movie, but the play does rocket along.

SS: I thought The Ovulators did a good job, and their bassist, Dori Prange, who played Yitzhak, was great.

MT: Prange was fantastic, and it was a welcome surprise for me to discover how big her part was. I almost felt like I should be watching the show at Sam Bond's with all these Eugene music scene faces.

SS: I don't know much about Adam Goldthwaite.

MT: He's part of the band Ordinary Flies and played Frank N. Furter in ACE's The Rocky Horror Show production in 2005. He's Eugene theater's Sexually Ambiguous Man, the sort of hot that just about everyone can appreciate, no matter their orientation (if they like manhotness).

SS: I appreciated his talent. He sang like 15 different genres of song. All within the rock/pop arena, but still.

MT: Well yes, that too.

SS: What did you think of the lighting design? I liked it except for the part where someone with epilepsy would have had a seizure.

MT: I liked the footlights, and I thought the strobe-lit part was very effective. In terms of design, I liked the slide projection with the nifty little drawings, which were helpful for keeping track of the narrative when you might otherwise be distracted by the sheer entertainment factor.

SS: They added a lot of humor and depth. Costumes: I thought that first wig was horrifying! And then I really liked the costume change for Prange. While you were terrified of Goldthwaite's costume change ...

MT: I just wondered how much was coming off! But I was excited to see Prange change. The drag was so effective at first that I wasn't convinced it was she until she started singing — then I knew that voice from her standout turns at the Fast Computers' annual Christmas shows.

SS: I wonder what the differences are between this and the 2004 ACE Annex version.

MT: This version is streamlined, I think, making use of Goldthwaite's ability to completely shift his voice and bearing to indicate Tommy's parts — which I thought worked incredibly well; it was as if Tommy was there but also as if Hedwig was just narrating the story through one long night.

SS: Who should go see this show?

MT: Part of the beauty of Hedwig is its crossover appeal — and I mean that on about three different levels. It's emotional and playful and affecting all 'round.

SS: If Mommy and Daddy won't let you read Scary Mr. Dan Savage for fear you might learn about gender and sexual differences, you probably need to see Hedwig.

MT: Ha! But we could write the review and only talk about Goldthwaite, who ought to win some sort of Eugene Oscar for his balls-out, fearless performance.

Hedwig continues at the Lord Leebrick Feb. 15-17 & 22-24 and March 1-3. Go to www.lordleebrick.comor call 465-1506 for tickets. $12-$17.