Review: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig

Ticket Type: Standing

Viewing Angle:  Orchestra Centre

Price: $30

Location: Belasco Theatre

Thanks to Neil Patrick Harris’ billing and announcement of his leaving the show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch had been sold out since I arrived to New York. So, to get tickets to this show I had to sit on the sidewalk for 8 hours in the hope that there would be standing tickets, this was successful and you know what? Totally worth it.

You’re introduced to the character of Hedwig with a “Whether you like it or not” and from that moment your eyes are glued to Hedwig as Neil Patrick Harris transforms into the skin of the transgender ignored rock star from Berlin. The structure of the show is a cabaret with Hedwig performing with her band “The Angry Inch” on the set of the previous night’s production of Hurt Locket: The Musical.

Not only is Neil Patrick Harris amazing, but also Lena Hall who is just so convincing as an ex-drag queen who has become backup singer for Hedwig sings with huge range and characterisation to match. Neil Patrick Harris’ focus and pure rapport with the audience seems just so authentic, he discusses, spits on and kisses various audience members and you can’t help but feel jealous. 

The set comprises of ruins and leftovers from Hurt Locker: The Musical and a busted old car is an effective use of levels. Meanwhile, the lighting is so inventive as it consistently adds to scene instead of distracting. A highlight of the show when the best use of a scrim I’ve ever seen is executed during the son “Origin of Love”.

The show does have its faults, there is no way it could go longer than the 100-minute one-act cabaret that it is. The story can be a bit cryptic at times, but it does offer some very thoughtful moments and build to a breathtaking climax that will genuinely have you on your feet before the final not is even sung. This is not a show for everyone, some people may find it a bit crude with many references to blowjobs but I assure you it does add to the integrity of the show and the character of Hedwig. The character has been so personalised by Neil Patrick Harris that it doesn’t seem that this show could be better with anyone else in the role.

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