For a good time, come all over the dating satire Grindr the Opera | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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For a good time, come all over the dating satire Grindr the Opera

Pride Films and Plays' new musical gleefully skewers the modern gay-dating scene.

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Looking for a good time? One night of fun that you will likely soon forget? NSA? Some BDSM and possible VBD? Then come all over Grindr the Opera at Pride Films and Plays, a comedic skewering of the modern gay-dating scene. This well-written, over-the-top musical by Erik Ransom stars Grindr (Bruno Rivera), an operatic siren who lures four gay archetypes as her aficionados: Devon (Justin Cavazos), the starry-eyed idealist; Tom (Ben Broughton), the experienced skeptic; Jack (Evan Wilhelm), the adventurous twink; and Don (director John Cardone), the in-the-closet daddy. Their dating lives all intersect in funny and often destructive ways.

The 90-minute show moves at a firm pace, utilizing every rhyme for male genitalia and sex acts while both celebrating the freedom offered by the dating app and lamenting its downsides. These include the expression of male sexuality, gay or straight, through the metaphors of hunting and conquering, and the emotional impact of infidelity even amid rampant promiscuity.

Each song gets extensive choreography, a delightful highlight not always present in many black-box theaters, though the execution is loose and scattered. The humorous moments, including exaggerated simulated sex, enhance the dance numbers. Rivera is a powerful soprano (the only real "opera"-level performance), and both Cavazos and Broughton as the romantic liaisons have wonderful voices. While their relationship explores poignant issues of monogamy and love, it's Wilhelm's and Cardone's characters who explore the darker side, struggling with issues of age, abuse, STDs, and honesty in a world of deception.   v

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