Sunday, July 29, 2012

KC Fringe "Buck Hoss" review by Rabid_Reviewer

Buckin' Horse
Rating: 4

Buck Hoss
KC Fringe Festival

This is an amazing adaptation of the Greek play, "The Bacchae".  For those not up on their theatre history, the Cult of Dionysus (Bacchus to the Greeks) had a nasty reputation.  Bacchus was the party god.  Sex, wine, and human sacrifice.  In an attempt to bring these religious cultists under control, the Greeks made a bold move.  They declared the cult an official state religion, and as such mandated that real human sacrifices were verboten.  Only simulated sacrifices could be performed officially.  These simulated displays eventually became more elaborate, strayed from their original intent, became scripted and eventually turned into the theatre we know in Western civilization.  Cool, huh?

If you understand these early beginnings, as the Greeks did when they watched the premiere of The Bacchae, the drunkenness, the cannibalism, the killing, all made sense.  Because it was brought on by the religious frenzy of a cult out of control, the participants could be somewhat forgiven for their participation.

Buck Hoss is a very clever and well-written retelling of the story of The Bacchae, set in more modern times.  As an adaptation, I think it is extremely well done.  Instead of separate religious cults, it deals with separate Christian sects.  The point is valid.  However, with modern sensibilities applied, I don't find the participation of the Christians to be all that forgivable.  I find that the chorus is just as culpable and guilty as the mother.

I don't find redeeming qualities about any of the characters, large or small.  There are no innocents. Even the heroes are despicable.  And maybe that's the point of the show.  The revenge doesn't really seem all that justified in terms of modern values.

The performances were great.  The writing was excellent.  From a technical standpoint, this show was incredibly well done.  The subject matter just didn't sit well with me.  It was almost too much of a Greek tragedy rather than a modern one.  Then again, I wasn't all that wowed by "Brother Where Art Thou?" either.  (That was an updating of "The Odyssey")

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