Borderlands: Three Chords and the Truth | The Frontier | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Borderlands: Three Chords and the Truth The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Mondays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through June 28 2015

The subtitle quotes late, great country tunesmith Harlan Howard (“I Fall to Pieces,” “Busted,” not to mention “Don’t Call Me From a Honky Tonk Bar”), whose formula for success was “three chords and the truth.” But, as this near-total disaster from Underscore Theatre demonstrates, it takes more than a positive role model to produce a decent musical. Cowriters L.C. Bernadine and Erik Olsen started with a simple, workable premise: seven struggling musicians convene at a bar to drink, jam, and commiserate. A sort of Million Dollar Quartet for losers. What they ended up with is a collection of disjointed, occasionally inscrutable confessions punctuated by 14 songs that manage to be under- and overwritten at the same time. The lyrics are flabby, the stories inchoate, the orchestrations annoying, and the cast try way too hard. –Tony Adler

Price: $20

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