Boom by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
1 hour 30 minutes with no intermission
Capital T Theatre
Hyde Park Theatre
May 31st – June 3rd
For more information and tickets, visit capitalt.org
The last time Austinites heard from Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, it was with Capital T's riotously funny dark comedy Hunter Gatherers, which ended up winning high praise and plenty of awards. Austinites will get to the wit of this great writer once again thanks once again to Mark Pickell the fine folks at Capital T Theatre, with the science fiction-based comedy Boom. Though it may not be as clear a satire of the human condition as the writer's previous work, Boom takes audiences to places many haven't been before, giving them plenty of surprises and giving them an experience they might not forget.
Science fiction and theatre usually don't meld well, but Pickell and Nachtrieb dip us into the world gradually, at first presenting us with nothing more than a meet up between young collegiates. As the play goes on, however, we see all is not what it seems, and by the end of the play, audiences will see (or at least hear) the world end. Despite the play's subject matter, the play is at its heart an intimate look at two very different people having to coexist under the worst circumstances for their own survival, and in that, the play excels greatly.
The two leads of Boom may not be well known by Austin audiences, but after this play, they'll be difficult to forget. Brad Price, who plays the brainy homosexual Jules, has shown a talent for playing the buttoned-up, brainy types, as many may have seen in Hunter Gatherers, and here he shines in just such a role, but the heart he shows that really makes his stand out, a stripped down desperation that makes him difficult not to feel for. Austin newcomer Katy Taylor plays a very different type of character with Joe, a forceful, cynical journalism student who asks as a fantastic foil to Price's Jules. When the two hit the stage together, its electric, even as they argue, fight, and torture each other (sometimes literally). Helping tell the story is the always energetic Katherine Catmull as the enigmatic Barbara, who is our guide through the action, and who creates some of the most hilarious scenes with her neurotic and adorable sensitivities. Along with her tympani and light board, she acts as a skilled tour guide, a professional who's not afraid to let her softer, more romantic side show.
Boom may not quite reach the heights of Hunter Gatherers, but it's still a thrilling and hilarious ride that goes places you won't find in many plays. Its raw and its intense, playing with the same themes of the wildness inside even the most civilized people in his other works, and with a skilled cast and Pickell's directorial hand, Boom becomes a unique experience.