As we waited for the house lights to go down and Bedbugs!!! to begin, my seat mate turned to me and whispered, “Hey, do you want to really start freaking people out?” No need to go on, new friend, as I knew exactly what he meant, because it was already going through my head. We both started our own little theater debut by dramatically itching, and while we did get a few chuckles from the folks around us, it was nothing compared to the laughs that were to follow during the next 2 hours of the show. Seriously, a new cult comedy just hit NYC, and I, for one, put it well above even the tried and true and much adored Rocky Horror. Here’s why.
Ever so rarely do you see a show, especially an off-broadway one, where every single aspect of the production is spot on perfection. From the set design (hello NYC pre-Giuliani!), to the choreography (those dance moves!), to the costumes (completely creepily brilliant!), to each and every performance from the lead down to the backup dancers, these guys were ALL solid A-game the entire time. Let’s just say they set the bar for off-broadway comedies high, and other shows are going to have a tough time getting it this right.
Bedbugs is a girl-meets-bug sci-fi-rock-musical-comedy, in which Carly, an exterminator, is hell-bent on avenging her mother’s bedbug-related death. In an effort to permanently rid the city of its infestation, she accidentally mutates the pests into an army of human-size, intelligent, carnal creatures out for blood and world domination.
BUT, the fun doesn’t stop there. Throw in the pop star Dionne (sound familiar to another Canadian star we all know and love?), and you have perhaps one of the best parodies I’ve ever seen in live theater. Actor Brian Charles Rooney absolutely kills it with his performance. Carly has a burning hatred for Dionne, because she was up listening to her concert the night her mother was taken by bedbugs…so naturally anytime she hears her crooning voice on the radio she goes mad.
A cautionary tale of toxic love mixed with 80’s nostalgia and classic NYC characters (the Williamsburg hipster who hates being called a hipster, the penny-pinching orthodox Jewish man with 13 kids, the WASPy martini-drinking-at-9am wifey)…this is a must see for everyone, but New Yorkers especially, you’ll have a special place in your heart for this piece of musical theater…us crazy folks in the audience pretending to get all itchy-itchy during the performance certainly did. Bravo, Bedbugs, bravo!!!
Are you a fan of cult comedies? Share your favorite below!
Photo Credit: Rex Bonomelli//Article By: Jessica Tiare Bowen