Glee Club @ Access Theatre, New York

cast list
Bruce Barton, Robert Buckwalter, Steven Burns, David DeGrosso, Carter Jackson, Stephen Speights, Tom Staggs, Matthew Trumbull

directed by
Matthew Freeman
Glee Club is a hilarious, un-PC and totally unexpected exploration of mens friendships. It grabs hold of you like that passive-aggressive gym coach everyone was afraid of in high school and never lets up. Although everyone will find this show funny, ultimately it’s a guy show that reintroduces men to their adolescent worries and finds raucous humor there.

The production is bare bones. The Romeo Vermont Glee Club is practicing for a critical performance, for a nursing home that houses one of their few remaining donors. On the cusp of the big performance, the soloist revels a disastrous secret to the group which jeapordizes his performances. How this odd collection of men reacts to the news and attempt to move forward with the recital is the only plot of the show. But within this simple premise lies a rich vein of laughs.
Director Matthew Freeman keeps the action boiling along so fast that you neither notice nor care that the plot is paper thin. Each man in the show is allowed to shine in their own special way. The club itself consists of adult versions of high school stereotypes, the shy weird guy, the kiss-up, the put-upon artist, and the crazy guy, amongst others. But being an adult doesnt mean these men have matured. In fact, Glee Club might only exist to give their inner teenager a day out in the world. One night a week they get to act out, be goofy and bond by insults, just like the good old days.

They are practicing a song, The World Will Make You Smile, by Stephen Speights, who plays the Glee leader in the show. There is only the one song, but it is held back, just out of reach for most of the show. By the time the Glee Club finally sings it, the audience is fully with the team. And the song is a perfect cap to the show, unexpected, irreverent and stupidly funny.

The acting of the entire ensemble is great. They bring to life these characters that are earnest, devious, and obviously devoted to each other and the club. There wasnt a bad performance (or voice) in the show. Carter Jackson, who plays Greg with deadly seriousness and Steven Burns, who plays Paul from out of left field, stand out – primarily because their roles are so unexpected.

Dont be thrown by the title, this bears almost no resemblance to the TV show Glee. It brings a everyday point of view that is rarely seen in the theater. Glee Club finds humor and life in a bunch of normal guys bonding without sexual tension or a mysterious murder in the past or coincidences piled high just a piano, a silly-ass song and a dream. See it.

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