In a campaign season, a raunchy rock opera about one of our Founding Fathers’ reign of terror could be a biting commentary and a breath of fresh air. But while the performances by the talented actors in Peppermint Creek Theater Co.’s “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” are energetic and explosive, the script by Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman is puerile mush, reducing serious history to the base-comic level of Mad Magazine.
It is a historic fact that our seventh president did, in fact, commit genocide, presiding over the wholesale annihilation of several Native American tribes. However, presenting a story of this magnitude in the format of a comedic musical approach is questionable, but the constant use of coarse language — combined with incessant pubescent whining — suggests a younger target audience.
There is much audience laughter, but to what end? The script throws compassion and caution to the wind, offending with jokes about dead babies, homosexuals, former presidents and Spaniards. First Lady Rachel Jackson (Mary Maurer) dies of cholera, and the audience snorts and chuckles as she (prat)falls over dead. Is cholera funny? When the narrator vomits off the side of the stage, she is applauded, but why?
Michael Kolaczkowski does a spirited take on Jackson, sprinting and strutting across the stage, but there is no real sense of an actual person in the role. The portrayal of other actual presidents as runway models suggests a view of the political process that is ignorant, cynical and an excuse for easy non-participation, inviting us to embrace our inner redneck.
“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”
Peppermint Creek Theatre Co.
Through Oct. 13
8 p.m. Thursday- Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Miller Performing Arts Center, 6025 Curry Lane, Lansing
$17 adults/$12 students and seniors