Comic Lore and Indie Rock Score: “Lizard Boy” at Know Theatre
Review by Katrina Reynolds
As a comic book nerd, a fan of indie music, and a (former) West Coaster, I couldn’t miss Know Theatre of Cincinnati’s production of Lizard Boy: A New Musical. Written by Justin Huertas, Lizard Boy is the queer fable of Trevor, an outcast who decides he’s tired of hiding and seeks out a love connection. What happens next will change his life in ways he couldn’t have imagined–but might have seen in his dreams. Special shout out to Mr. Huertas for creative use (but not overuse) of an unorthodox timeline in his storytelling.
There is nothing not to like about the way Director Lindsey Augusta Mercer stages this play. The 90-minute show is constantly moving, visually appealing, and audibly pleasing. They have a very clear vision of each character and situation and know exactly what they want to convey and how they want to convey it. Bravx to this! The use of the stage space and ways the grungy Seattle music scene is represented throughout the play is not only clever, but logical.
Lighting and Scenic Designer Andrew J. Hungerford and Sound and Projections Designer Douglas Borntrager clearly did their research or are comic geeks like I am–or both! While the set has many accoutrements, it never seems crowded or cluttered. On the contrary, it seemed as though the set was very easy for the actors to navigate their constant flow of movement. The lighting choices are particularly impressive in the way they complement the mood of each scene. Further, the whimsical comic book inspired projections are not overdone and extraordinarily effective. The sound balance is excellent for the most part; the only exception being that the cello is a wee bit hot and sometimes too loud against the performers. I do love a good cello, however, so there are worse things in life.
Each performer is strong and memorable. Music Director and performing artist Erin McCamley impresses without question. Clearly a gifted instrumentalist and teacher, Ms. McCamley’s musicality is second to none both in her direction and her own execution. She is engaging and absolutely embodies the spirit of a character whose name is Siren.
In addition, Ian Timothy Forsgren shows us they are more than just a brilliant mover. Mx. Forsgren delights in every moment and reminds us their voice is far too often unused on stage. They contribute wonderful things to a beautiful blend of harmonies performed by the entire cast.
While you don’t have to be a comic book fan to appreciate this musical, it certainly doesn’t hurt. However, if you’re a fan of good “theydies” and bad “gentlethems” and man-sels in distress, Lizard Boy is fun, fast-paced audio and visual experience you will enjoy.
Lizard Boy runs through December 11. Know Theatre of Cincinnati features several pricing levels to support your local artists. Discounted tickets are offered on Wednesdays through The Welcome Experiment. In addition, this show can be seen live in person or streaming online. To purchase tickets, visit https://www.knowtheatre.com/tickets/.
Katrina “Kat” Reynolds is a local performing artist and directress. She serves as the copy editor for Rob Bucher’s Behind The Curtain Cincinnati. Her company, Harley Quinn Studios, produces old-timey radio show content and provides the place “where the voices in your head come to play”.