There’s currently a cultural phenomenon circulating around the plaid shirt and ironic mustache set called The Room, perhaps you’ve heard of it?

The Room is little independent movie written, directed and starring Tommy Wiseau. Wiseau’s film is wildly atrocious. Every stilted, poorly delivered line of dialogue is a brain-melting non sequitur. There something hilariously wrong with literally every shot in the film.

Even movie’s four extended sex scenes are so groan-inducingly bad that if you can make it though even one of them without tearing up from laughter you’re a stronger man than I. There are monthly midnight showings of The Room all across the country with people constantly yelling jokes at the screen and throwing hundreds of plastic spoons all over the theatre. The film is trying very hard, and evidently succeeding, in becoming the new Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Whereas Rocky Horror is a brilliant piece of intentional camp, The Room’s intent was deadly serious. However, when you watch it, you can’t help but realize that what you’re seeing is Wiseau baring his soul on film–it’s not his fault that what came out is quite possibly the most inept piece of filmmaking since, maybe, ever.

What: Gutenberg! The Musical!
When: Thurs-Sat 8PM until June 26
Where: Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy St.
Tickets: $20, buy here

So when you’re in a theatre with a bunch of self-satisfied hipsters mocking the film with knowing snark, you can’t help but feel more than a little guilty. While Wiseau now claims that the movie’s incompetence was intentional, some of the laughs catch in your throat because they’re clearly directed at Wiseau and not with him.

This is why I walked into Gutenberg! The Musical! with a bit of trepidation. The conceit of the play is that two regular-ish guys, the perfectly named Doug Simon (Austin Ferris) and Bud Davenport (Joey Price), have written a musical about the inventor of the printing press and are doing a staged reading for the benefit of a big-shot Broadway producer that may or may not be in the audience.

The problem is that the musical they’ve written is not very good. The line between so-bad-its-good and so-bad-its-still-just-really-bad is a tight one to walk. Despite BeardsBeardsBeard‘s stellar track record, including Emo: The Musical, an original show about a bunch of depressed teenagers who save the world from an impending astroid-related doom only because emo heartthrob Conor Oberst currently lives there, ninety minutes of mean-spirited mocking of aspiring theatre artists wears out its welcome pretty fast.

While Gutenberg! The Musical! is, deep down very mean-spirited, it’s almost immediately evident that the target isn’t Bud or Doug. Price and Austin, together with director Amanda Dolan, have invested their characters with a fresh-faced enthusiasm that’s as much about impressing the big-shot Broadway producer in their midst as it is a genuine pride in finally having done something they’re really proud of. Only the most soulless of assholes could tell them to their faces that what they’ve created sucks.

This is precisely the point because the target Scott Brown and Anthony King’s witty and inventive script isn’t the type of regional theatre wannabee that Bud and Doug are clearly modeled after. It’s abundantly clear that the target of satire is Broadway itself–particularly all of the lazy, self-serving clich

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!