February 15, 2011
Boxing Scots, with Underworld
An awesomely intense-sounding play is coming to St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn later this month -- Beautiful Burnout, an import from the National Theatre of Scotland by production company Frantic Assembly. It's not every day you hear about a play where the actors spend months getting in shape, but this one's like that, and I'm psyched for it.
Another cool thing: the soundtrack is all Underworld. In the play's trailer, we hear "Kittens" from their album Beaucoup Fish, a pounding, energetic track that, according to me, is one of the greatest dance tracks ever blasted out of a set of speakers. Another video of the actors training features "Mo Move", the opening track from A Hundred Days Off. And the play's title is taken from a song of the same name from Oblivion With Bells.
Though this is definitely a play with a kick-ass soundtrack, and not a musical, the use of music by a single group makes me wonder what a full-on Underworld jukebox musical would be like. We've already gotten productions based on the music of Johnny Cash, ABBA, Queen, Billy Joel, and Green Day. It's only a matter of time before my generation demands an electronic jukebox musical to relive those wild, drug-fueled club days of the late '90s from $140 seats in orchestra center. Plus, Underworld's songs almost always include vocals.
So why not? Imagine the storyline: an innocent boy arrives in London, meets a sexy cowgirl waitress who's into swimming in the ocean and hard psychedelics. The two of them and a transvestite calling herself Dirty Numb Angel immerse themselves in the underground club scene, where they experience color-drenched hallucinations, transcendental confabs with Albert Einstein, and epic marathons of Bruce Lee movies, all awash in blistering techno. The audience joins in chants of "lager! lager! lager!" during the big finale, while being showered in thousands of pills.
Here's a great video about what the actors went through to get into shape for the play. I love hearing them talk about how they had to "jess keep pooshin' yehself" to "become a buhx-ah". The play was apparently inspired by Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, but the setting has clearly been moved to Glasgow.
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