Full disclosure: I booked playwright Laura Eason’s band, Tart, back in the nineties for a gig. We had a good time. And that’s what’s missing from her account of a nineties rock band: the joy and fun that keeps musicians coming back. Eason’s chosen to dramatize the most tedious parts of a music career: business decisions, political backstabbing and creative disappointment.
The performers succeed in playing the intention and nuance the piece’s construction requires: Chip Davis captures the disappointment of Jim, the band’s tortured genius; Zack Buell’s passive-aggressive machinations as drummer Noah are painful to watch; Cyd Blakewell’s Elisha is alt rock’s Lady Macbeth. Director Anna Bahow’s staging is well paced and makes the most of limited space. Annette Vargas’ Smart Bar /Lounge Ax set is a study in nostalgia; 90s-era concert posters cover graffiti-sprayed walls. It’s an accurate, interesting picture; we just don’t know why everyone’s there in the first place. (Lisa Buscani)
“Rewind” plays at the side project theatre company, 1439 W. Jarvis, (773)973-2150, through December 20.