Kemble's Riot

Theater, Drama
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Kemble's Riot
Photograph: Andy Suggett
Kemble's Riot

If you’ve ever wished that you could throw tomatoes at the stage, just like in olden days, then head down to the Players Theatre for Kemble's Riot, a tidy little piece by the late British playwright Adrian Bunting. It clocks in at a brisk 60 minutes, and appeals to every playgoer’s baser instincts to stomp, shout and, at the actors’ urging, toss plush balls at the cast. In the midst of such exercises is a true story about the 1809 riot at London’s Covent Garden Theatre, where audiences protested for 66 nights over raised ticket prices. (The people won.) Actors Matt Bartz and Marla Schultz tease out modern resonances while seated in the house; comparisons to Occupy Wall Street and Tahrir Square veer into diatribe, but this is a fast and fun piece that asks prescient questions about the affordability of the theater. (Too bad there's no similar movement today against Broadway houses and their triple-digit prices.) The play’s closing lines—“Speak, shout, shout as one, and you can shout the house down”—make you want to head uptown and make trouble.—Diep Tran

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Marline McLean

I had a great time, the story and the cast were wonderful. Audience participation is encouraged. For a very different night out at the theater, don't miss it!