Michael Detmer & Remy Sisk. Photo: Pandora Productions
Book by Todd Almond
Music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet
Directed by Michael Drury
Review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2019 by Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
Remember being 18 years old? When high school ended and what happened next began. Right on the brink of adulthood with childhood lingering in the shadows, that sliver of time moved fast with pangs of moving out and moving on. Matthew Sweet brilliantly captured this feeling in his landmark concept album “Girlfriend.” Louisville was lucky to see the show mounted by Actors Theater in 2013, and it is truly a gift to see the show back on its feet with Pandora Productions.
Intimate in staging and delicate in performance, this two-person show is honest and gripping as it follows the shy love that grows between two high school graduates: one a quirky misfit and the other a popular athlete. Together they defy fears and stammer into love with an urgency to touch and share. Will and Mike are passionate yet misunderstood We witness moments of hands that nearly hold, mixed tapes were given, and aimless driving with the soundtrack of youth blaring in the background.
Michael Detmer’s Will is an outcast eager to start his next adventure. Smitten and romantic, this narrator (of sorts) carries the show with a hyperactive exuberance of post-graduation energy. Detmer does well to present Will as true to himself, yet insecure with fitting the mold of the small town surrounding him. Remy Sisk accentuates Mike’s a surface stoicism while revealing a deeply sensitive side. Sisk delivers a vulnerable performance, revealing his truth while defending himself and Will against toxic, small-town homophobia.
Sisk and Detmer portray a harmonious and hormone-driven love that with each silence-filled phone call and a repeated visit to the drive-in is heartwarming and achingly relatable. The duo does no wrong with Matthew Sweet’s grunge score. Poppy, bouncy and straight out of the 1990s, the title song is sung with tremendous vigor, “Evangeline” is approached with tongue in cheek irony, while tunes like “I’ve Been Waiting” and “Your Sweet Voice” are the angst-fueled answers for the prayers of the misunderstood.
Every so often a play arrives with high expectations. Girlfriend lives up to the hype. Embracing the harsh realities of falling in love for the first time and growing into the person you are meant to be, Pandora Productions delivers a musical that is not to be missed and totally rocks.
Cast: Michael Detmer, Remy Sisk
Band: Matt Brewington, Nina Espinueva, Redted, Joe Welsh
March 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, & 23 @ 7:30 pm
March 10 @ 2:30 pm & 17 @ 5:30 pm
Henry Clay Theater
604 South Third Street
Louisville, KY, 40202
Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for LEO Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!
2019 Arts-Louisville/Broadway World Theatre Award Sponsorship provided by