Feature

Bash’d! A Gay Rap Opera

<em>Bash&rsquo;d! </em>has a sobering view of the relationship between the gay community and heterosexual culture, but rarely moralizes and is full of genuinely funny moments.

Bash’d! A Gay Rap OperaZipper Factory Theater New York(212) 695-4600

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“Canada is not an obvious breeding ground for great white rappers,” said Mark Blankenship in Variety. But north-of-the-border duo Nathan Cuckow and Chris Craddock turn out to have skills. Together, they rhyme their pink-and-white-clad way through a barrage of potent social commentary in Bash’d! Decked out as gay rappers Feminem and T-Bag, Cuckow and Craddock narrate the story of a marriage between a gay couple, Dillon and Jack, that turns tragic when Jack heads out to a nightclub and is fatally attacked by bigots. The show has a sobering view of the relationship between the gay community and heterosexual culture, but rarely moralizes and is full of genuinely funny moments.

Those familiar with Manhattan gay culture won’t find a whole lot of new ground here, said Andy Webster in The New York Times. Cuckow and Craddock confer a kind of sainthood on their protagonists, and just barely avoid the rhetoric of victimhood. At times the play seems to devolve into a kind of “fabulist agitprop.” But audiences both gay and straight “should be impressed by the passion of the musical’s convictions” and a few powerful scenes. One “haunting recitation” of the names of people killed in hate crimes, from Matthew Shepard to Brandon Teena, communicates with blunt force the show’s message of “rage, grief, and driven, heartfelt determination.”

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