Published on August 30th, 2021 | by Stacey McLaughlin0
Sparrow Theatre’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Sparrow Theatre put on a series of stellar performances of the glam rock musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, at The Broadway Theatre this weekend.
This past Friday I had the pleasure of watching The Sparrow Theatre company perform the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Broadway Theatre. The shows ran from August 27 to the 29, 2021, with the last show being added due to popular demand. The musical is based on the book by John Cameron Mitchell, with music and lyrics by Stephen Trask. It’s the story of Hedwig Robinson, a genderqueer rock singer, and her backing band, The Angry Inch.
Having been a fan of the cinematic adaptation of this production, I was very curious to see how it would translate to the stage as I had not yet seen it in that capacity. This would also be my first live and in person theatre outing since 2019, so I was very excited to kick off a return to live venues with a story that I love so much. I also felt safe and comfortable going to this show as The Broadway Theatre has been a leader in responsible venue management throughout the whole pandemic.
The Sparrow Theatre company is a local Saskatoon theatre group who focus on strength through community involvement, and who are dedicated to representing the diversity that we see in Saskatoon on their stages. They also seek to transform their audiences by challenging what they know, per their website bio, and I would say they accomplished that with this show.
I was extremely impressed with how much this group did with such a minimal stage. In the cinematic version the story telling takes place over a variety of settings, and with more actors. They still managed to tell the story in full, with one stage and minimal props, and relied on the brilliant acting of the two lead roles to fill in for the characters from the movie who do not appear on the stage. The use of a live band on the stage was also quite novel as bands are usually tucked away out of sight. This band was fully part of the on-stage performance, and had the costumes, make up, and mannerisms to match.
I was especially thrilled with both Zac Morgan’s Hedwig and Oli Guselle’s Yitzhak. Both roles have challenging vocal demands and both performers lived up to every song and their characterizations were so well executed that they were not just two people playing their roles, you genuinely believed that they were Hedwig and Yitzhak.
Because The Broadway Theatre is such an intimate venue there were many instances of audience interaction. One notable occurrence was when a patron thought they could sneak out to the bathroom during the performance, only to get called out by Hedwig herself, resulting in uproarious laughter from the rest of the audience. I’m not normally a fan of audience participation when I go to concerts or musicals, but when the ensemble got to the song “Wig in a Box” and put the words up on the back of the stage wall, I couldn’t help but sing along. The atmosphere was very genial and exuberant.
The show closed with a stunning encore by Oli Guselle and the band. The time spent watching this musical just flew by. Even though there was no intermission it was over just as fast as it had begun. If you get a chance to go to another show that The Sparrow Theatre Company puts on, I highly recommend taking that opportunity. They are a brilliant group of extremely talented performers; I can’t wait to see what they do next.