STARRING CECIL BALDWIN, WITH SPECIAL GUESTS AND LIVE MUSIC BY DISPARITION.FEATURING Erin Mckeown AS "THE WEATHER."
I have been fan of the podcast Welcome to Nightvale for some time and heard about their first show here three years ago the day after it happened. So as you might imagine, I was keen on not missing the show this time. They have had a few and from what I have read all have been very successful - I know the Corona Theatre last night was pretty much full.
The show is barebones, it's like watching a radio show on stage right down to the cast holding their scripts in their hands and reading directly off the paper. This is in no way a slight to the production, it works really well. You can enjoy the might with no knowledge of the podcast but it helps to be familiar with it as you get much more out of the events that unfold. Cecil Baldwin gives just enough visual performance to keep the live audience laughing and involved but not so much as to alienate those who will listen later when this get puts on iTunes as special audio file. The audience was fairly mixed. Of course the hardcore fans were there - a diverse lot ranging in age and style of dress. It would be easy to be cynical and peg the whole thing as a bunch of pretentious posers putting on a self serving show and I would pity your miserable life.
The show, like the podcast, is a weird combination of conspiracy theories, Twilight Zone like storylines and truly odd characters who have no idea how odd they are. This is not for everyone, and you aren't a bad person for not liking it but especially live, its hard not to get caught up in the fun everyone is having and how non-judgemental the whole thing is. Be weird - or don't. Participate in worshiping the all power Glow Cloud (ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD) - or don't. The message of the show is one of understanding and how preconceptions and inability to communicate can lead to misperceptions and prejudice. All without being preachy and never straying long from the good natured humour of the cast and writing.
The musical guest, Erin Mckeown was delightful and in the spirit of the show involved the audience as much as possible.
I don't mean to say the show is perfect, it isn't. I would say it's sort of a "best of" the podcast in some ways, other live shows have had more dense storytelling than this one. I had the impression this might have been rushed into production. Even so, somewhat standard Nightvale is more interesting and funny (and strange) than almost any other live show you might see. The bar is high but it's difficult to feel even slightly disappointed while watching such great troupe of people giving their all and appreciating every minute - as did I.