White Trash Wedding and a Funeral | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

White Trash Wedding and a Funeral


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


White Trash Wedding and a Funeral, Factory Theater, at Angel Island. Mike Beyer and Bill Havle's gleefully moronic exaltation of white trash culture--including, but not limited to, the holy trinity of the mullet, hair metal, and beer--leaves little to the imagination. A furious, acid-laced potboiler about a murderous plot to steal a septic tank magnate's fortune, Beyer and Havle's profanity-laced, flatulence-fueled script borrows the central conceit of Hamlet and sets it in a central Illinois American Legion hall. Too dopey to be taken seriously and too clever to be ignored, White Trash Wedding and a Funeral was a monster late-night hit during its initial staging at the Factory Theater's original Rogers Park home.

Though America hasn't gotten any smarter since the show premiered in 1995, Beyer and Havle's script now seems eerily prescient. A fist-pumping, full-cast rendition of Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" appeared here before Alfred Molina performed the same in Boogie Nights, and a gross-out gag involving bodily fluids predates There's Something About Mary. Factory alum Nick Digilio has been coaxed back into the director's chair for this timely remounting, and his influence is palpable from the onset: the actors--many from the original cast--crank their performances up to a fever pitch, cussing and farting at a breakneck pace. At its smartest moments, White Trash Wedding and a Funeral sticks a boot in the ass of Middle America while placing a mirror to "polite" society. At its dumbest moments, the laughs are both uncomfortable and infectious.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →