PEORIA, IL -- Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, playing at Corn Stock's Winter Playhouse, rates an A-plus for a very slick production, singing, dancing and acting, and a B minus for dialogue and music.
It's not Sondheim. It's not Hamilton, either. There's no poetic language,and the rock music is undistinguished though well done. There's also way too much crude swearing in this show, but that's not the fault of the players.
Even so, it's a fascinating musical about the life of Andrew Jackson, the USA's 7th president, a populist, a 19th century Trump. Some have compare Jackson with Hitler for his treatment of Native Americans.
The interplay between 21st century language and 19th century historical realities is curious and jarring. The tone of the musical is inconsistent, with comedy and tragedy mixed in a weird stew that works somehow. It's lively and vibrant, with lots of energy. And of course we don't know how Jackson really talked.
But it also left me wondering if the play would be better without the profane language that conveys only raw emotion instead of more subtle feelings. It needs more irony, less swearing.
They're doing something right, though -- the playhouse was almost sold out and the audience was young, not the typical older playgoers at most productions.
It plays Feb. 19 at a matinee, and is well worth seeing.
-- Elaine Hopkins