“Pop Waits” Is First Rate:

    A Review

    More stories from William Castro


    William Castro

    Molly Brennan (back) watches Malic White (front) covered in ketchup and throwing plastic blue cups while talking about her insecurities.

    “Pop Waits” is a play/concert/performance art/series of monologues. I’m not even sure if this accurately defines what it is. It transcends all of that into a unique performance about self-identity and what happens when that identity is a loathed, feigned persona.

    “Pop Waits” comes from the names of singers Iggy Pop and Tom Waits, cherished idols of Molly Brennan and Malic White, the creators.  Brennan impersonates Waits and White impersonates Pop throughout the show.

    In a purposely ham fisted manner, Brennan’s Waits impersonation is over the top funny, with a gruff voice and her hat pulled down way too low.

    But there were many somber moments that delve into other topics such as hate, self-loathing, and how their love for one another might not be enough to prevent a suicide. It lifts off the veil that reveals who these performers actually are.

    “Depression is a thing that never goes away, you just learn how to live with it,” White said to the audience. She continued to Brennan, “I hate watching you live with it, because I love you and you’re good and you don’t deserve to suffer.”

    This somehow easily transitioned from White slathering peanut butter on her bare chest to Brennan going over the mantra she uses to simply get out of bed, which is done with the utmost tact.

    They made the wild and loud moments work nicely with more serious matters. I enjoyed this dynamic and they really nailed the balance between the two. They made sure not to overburden the audience with too much cheese ball humor or distance themselves with such melancholy.

    There is definitely a serious theme to the show, yet, it is handled as if it were a Saturday Night Live episode.  At one point, White picks out an audience member and reads them their fortune. Right after, Brennan tells us a story of how her father mistakenly shot a squirrel.

    Some skits seem completely random and unorganized, but it didn’t hurt the production.

    Each break in scene was met with a cover of a Waits or Pop song, it served as a nice palate cleanser to ready myself for the next moment, but I did have issues with the music.

    As White channeled Pop and the band played loud and fast, the sound mixing got bad. The band drowned her out, leaving her mostly inaudible. This wasn’t the case with the slower songs but it was something that took me out of the experience.

    Yet the highlights for me were the moments of honesty when they spoke to us in a completely vulnerable state.

    In the end, they embrace and kiss. A moment that provides closure, that despite all the hardships and self-crises they can look to one another for reassurance. They don’t have to be Tom Waits or Iggy Pop— they can be themselves. It’s weird that a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea who Brennan or White were and now I’m not only rooting for them, but enlightened by them.

    “Pop Waits” closed after an extended run at The Neo-Futurarium on 5153 N. Ashland Ave, home of the Neo-Futurists Ensemble, but don’t despair, their next show, “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” promises more hilarity with tickets as low as $4. For inquiries about tickets, please call 773-878-4557.