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The Beastly Bombing

When the leaders of our country make you feel you don't belong,
When freedom has been mortgaged and they'll sell it for a song,
It's best to kill some people so they know they voted wrong!

— Patrick, the white supremacist.

The Beastly Bombing
Russell Steinberg, Andrew Ableson, Jacob Sidney, Aaron Matajasic
(Photo: Kim Gottlieb-Walker)
Despite being located far from Hollywood's main drag of artistic venues, the Steve Allen Theater is creating quite a stir. Nestled in the bohemian center of Los Angeles (aka Los Feliz) The Beastly Bombing or A Terrible Tale of Terrorists Tamed by The Tangles of True Love is not your typical operetta, nor for those who are easily offended. Writer/Director Julien Nitzberg and composer Roger Neill have teamed up to create libretto and music that reminds one simultaneously of Gilbert and Sullivan and Mel Brooks.

The catchy tunes encompass a story about two duos, Patrick and Frank—a pair of bumbling white supremacists— and Abdul and Khalid—blundering Al Qaeda members. When the four discover their mutual love of bombs and for destroying America, they become a quartet on the run from the police. Somehow, they end up in an ecstasy driven orgy with two drug addicted President's daughters and a pedophiliac Priest (and that's just the first act).

The plot points alone should cause even the most world weary theater goer to prick up their ears. Although not all of the lyrics are clever enough to stay in one's head after the show has ended, the premise will—and should provide lively conversation for those who attend.

The cast members, comprised of theater veterans galore, are eloquent and well equipped to handle the material. Thankfully, their enunciation allows us to understand every barb and witty aside. The show starts small, introducing all of the characters in duets. The core quartet are up to the task, with standout performances from Andrew Ableson and Jacob Sidney.

The simple set works well, and the actors make full use of the stage. The strong choreography allows for plenty of comedic moments, although adding additional levels to the set (as occurs in the beginning of the show) could have aided in the visual imagery. "Song of the Secular Jew" is a musical highlight as the white supremacists and Al Qaeda members sing and dance along with a duo of Hasidic Jews. It's fairly odd to be humming along to a number that should be offensive, but hum and laugh you do.

Although the tunes are catchy, the plot as a whole doesn't always work. The second act especially leaves much to be desired, as it ties up loose ends a little too neatly. Nitzberg's direction is caught between broad comedy and satire. For a show that thrives on pushing buttons, it seems to lose its grit, and instead revels in somewhat gratuitous gay jokes and partial nudity. The raunchy and low brow scenes don't always mesh with the high brow humor. While some of the lines had the audience laughing, there were plenty that also seemed over the top. There's no need to resort to such broad comedy when your lyrics are sharp and fun, especially when the first act succeeds in blending both.

Beastly Bombing follows the prototypical musical format to a tee, but in doing so almost forgets what its purpose seems to be—to ridicule the very medium that it has adopted. Nonetheless, it's still refreshing to see theater that tackles the taboo. Humor and wry satire provide the perfect antidote to a society bogged down in a P.C. world where the tiniest political snafu makes it into the nightly news.

The Beastly Bombing
Written and Directed By: Julien Nitzberg
Composed and Musically Directed By: Roger Neill
Choreographer: Kevin Remington
Cast: Andrew Ableson, Joel Bennett, Curt Bonnem, Katie Coleman, Matt Cornell, Ben Daughtrey, Robert Glen Decker, Kate Gabrielle Feld, Heather Marie Marsden, Aaron Matijasic, Jesse Merlin, Trevor Murphy, John Quale, Darrin Revitz, Ryan Scott Self, Natalie Salins, Jacob Sidney, Russell Steinberg
Production Designer: Jill McGraw
Costume Design: Susan Matheson
Lighting Design: Stephen Pope
Stage Manager: Julianne Figueroa
Running Time: 100 minutes, not including a 15 minute intermission
Dates: January 19, 2007 for an open-ended run. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm.
The Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
Tickets: $20. Military and unemployed get in for half price.
Tickets: 1-800-595-4TIX or at
For more information visit
Reviewed by Ariana Mufson on 2/3/07.

Act 1
A Delightful Little Bomb
We Like Mushrooms
A Delightful Little Bomb (Al-Qaeda Version)
Our Ideology
Song of the Secular Jew
Song of the Sensitive White Supremacist
I Am the Bravest President

Act 2
My Savior Did Appear
People Who Love Like Us
The Morals of Society
House of Saud
Drop the Bomb on Chad
A Delightful Little Bomb (Japanese Sailor Version)
Back in 1944
Drop the Bomb on Japan
Zog Has Lost
There Still is Love

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