Wednesday January 18th 2017

“Badfic Love” review by Lawrence Riordan

badfic-love-7602By now, most millennial’s are at least vaguely familiar with fanfiction. According to the Dramaturg (Issac Gomez’s) for StrangeBedfollows theatre production of Adam Pasen’s new play “Badfic Love,” fanfiction is “when writers use source material [from] a show a, a book, [or] even a real-life celebrity person, to write original fiction,” and says that most fanfiction writers identify as female, transgender, or genderqueer.” Pasen’s script explores a poorly written homo-erotic Harry Potter fanfiction (and we are told exact abbreviations to search for such material on google) that constructs a romantic liaison between Harry Potter (Connor Konz) and Draco Malfoy (Jake Szczepaniak): scenes which are illustrated with incredible scenic projections (Paul Deziel) on the walls of a necessarily basic apartment set (Jeffrey Chaney).badfic

Kyle (Chris Fowler) works at stables, but in his free-time belongs to a society that monitors the internet to protect it from bad fanfiction by virtually “outing” and humiliating its writers, and appears to be writing a dissertation on a series of poorly-written stories that take as their origin. J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” franchise while his roommate Jared (Jovan King) studies for the bar. However, his personal life and scholarly endeavors are upended when he falls in love with its author “Michelle” (Cristiana Barbatelli), and apparently has to decide between honesty, the relationship, his dissertation, and his friendship with the other members of the society, including an aggressive ex-girlfriend Cynthia (Katie Hunter). badfic6

Strong performances by Fowler, Hunter, and Konz, who is both more convincing and more likable as Harry Potter than Daniel Radcliffe (though he could be Radcliffe’s twin), and excellent directorial choices by Aaron Henrickson, overshadow the fact that Pasen’s real-world-characters are like their fanfiction counterparts, underwritten, and predictable. However, that may or may not be have been Pasen’s intention, and his dialogue, which convincingly balances camp with razor-sharp humor, in conjunction with Deziel’s disarmingly gorgeous scenic projections make the show well-worth seeing.

“Badfic Love” is being produced by the Strange Bedfellows Theatre Company and is running through May 2 at the Den Theatre located at 1333 N. Milwaukee. Performances are Thursdays through Saturday’s at 7:30 P.M. Tickets are $20 and are on sale at strangebedfellowstheatre.com or dime.io/events/badfic-love. Harry Potter inspired Rock Bands Tonks and the Aurors will play before the performances on April 16, 17, and 18th, and Hawthorne and Holly on April 23, 24, and 25. Additional band dates to be announced.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Badfic Love”

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