A line of performers in 1920s garb sit on the floor of an apartment set, mouths open in what appears to be either raucous laughter or loud singing.
Rave on: the ensemble of The Wild Party at Blank Theatre Credit: Zeke Dolezak

Blank Theatre Company’s production of The Wild Party (book, music, and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and based on the 1926 narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March), directed by Jason A. Fleece, tells the story of Queenie and Burrs, toxic lovers in the roaring 20s. In their Manhattan apartment, they throw a party, which manifestly goes awry when the promiscuous Kate and mysterious Mr. Black arrive. 

Karylin Veres’s heartfelt portrayal of Queenie, the beautiful vaudeville dancer, complements Dustin Rothbart’s Burrs, the short-tempered vaudeville clown. The audience opening night began rooting as soon as the first number, “Queenie was a Blonde,” began, whistling and cheering “Yes queen!” and “Slay!” Yet Kate is the life of the party, thanks to LJ Bullen’s unmatched vocal performance. 

The Wild Party
Through 9/25: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 5 PM; also Mon 9/19, 7:30 PM, Reginald Vaughn Theatre, 1106 W. Thorndale, blanktheatrecompany.org, $20-$30

The supporting characters make this party a blast. Mary Nora Wolf as Madelaine the lesbian delivers a solo that’s a comic highlight. Kaitlin Feeley and Ian Reed as Mae and Eddie are admittedly “Two of a Kind.” And Nicky Mendelsohn’s performance of the flamboyant composer Phil D’Armano is hilarious and instrumental in relieving some of the tension from the more serious scenes. 

Though the production is amusing, two hours is a long time to watch 14 people partying. And while the musical addresses some of the barriers victims face in abusive relationships, the acknowledgement is superficial at best. Some parts are hard to watch without clenching, like the abrupt assault scene between Queenie and Burrs in act one. 

If you’re looking for a raunchy yet low-key event, The Wild Party may be right for you. Besides, a little party never killed anybody.