Theater Review: Nothing Without a Company’s ‘ThroatPunch’ Reacts Through its Performers

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CHICAGO – The provocative title of Sharon Krome’s new stage play, “ThroatPunch,” does not contain that particular fight technique. But it does have standout performances by the three person cast, as they make their way in Chicago, circa 1983, amid their emerging twentysomething punk rock attitude. The World Premiere of the show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through June 3rd, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information. Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 3.5/5.0
Play Rating: 3.5/5.0

This is a brand new work by young playwright Krome (she is presenting the production in association with the stage group Nothing Without a Company) and is seeks to recreate a nether-era in the city when monthly rents were cheap, and artists sought to create whatever category of work they could fathom, without the distractions or conveniences of smartphones, social media or ride sharing. The actors in the play – Adam Huizenga, Tarina Bradshaw and Alicia Jade – deliver on their artist characters, as they experience sex, drugs and punk rock music.

Nat (Alicia Jade), Zig (Adam Huizenga) and Cyn (Tarina Bradshaw) in ‘ThroatPunch’
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Cyn (Bradshaw) and Zig (Huizenga) are roommates and sometime lovers. They live in a rathole apartment in 1983 Chicago, decorated with the posters and art of their advocation… the punk rock music and attitude of the era. Their lives change when a third wheel in the life cycle shows up – a quiet Jewish girl from Skokie named Nat, who is introduced as she nurses a bloody nose received at a Metro concert. As time passes and shifts through a number of blackout scenes, the punk relationships between Cyn, Zig and Nat develop in a number of surprising ways, echoing modern societal confrontations and couplings.

The naturalistic chemistry between the three actors is what breathes life into a random number of happenstances that don’t quite add up. Zig is typical of the tough-guy punk, as he cares mostly about sex and drugs, without any regard to the consequences this could have on his life and loves. Adam Huizenga is a tornado in the role, blowing through the small apartment bent on destruction, not caring about petty emotions or true “connections.” Tarina Bradshaw is the steadying force as Cyn, torn between two rival quasi-roommates, and somehow balancing herself between both of them. Alicia Jade is a nice revelation… she never wavers from her low keyed Alice-in-Wonderland experience, and her transition to her life with Zig and Cyn is a highlight of the show.

ThroatPunch is directed by Nothing Without a Company’s overall Artistic Director, Anna Rose Ii-Epstein, with her characteristic confrontational style. The characters are always in close proximity to each other in their interactions, illustrated perfectly in the first scene with the bloody nose that seems to affect everything. The director also has created the atmosphere that Krome’s characters play in, an actual Chicago apartment (the audience intimately fits into the space), and it adds a touch of realism to the proceedings.

Zig and Nat Confront Each Other in ‘ThroatPunch’
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Where the play falters a bit is in the book. Nothing really much happens in the 90 minutes with Zig, Cyn and Nat, and nothing gets resolved. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in certain stage play circumstances, but in “ThroatPunch” I desired a more punk rock approach to the story, it needed more electricity. It also didn’t feel like the year it was set in – which is what happens when you invite someone who actually lived through the era. Beyond the easy references to the punk rock heroes, Ronald Reagan and vinyl, it needed a more authentic early ‘80s vibe, either in set design (the posters and wall paint stencils seemed printed off the internet) or language. That feeling was not there.

But the actors were sure there with their characters, and you’ll want to spend time with them. In negotiating the jungle in that young adult search for identity, “ThroatPunch” proves that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sharon Krome presents the World Premiere of “ThroatPunch” in association with Nothing Without a Company, Thursday-Saturday nights @ 8pm, Sundays at 7pm through June 3rd, 2018, at the Chicago Mosaic School (West Entrance, 2nd Floor), 1101 West Granville Avenue, Chicago. Featuring Adam Huizenga, Tarina Bradshaw and Alicia Jade. Written by Sharon Krome. Directed and Co-Produced by Anna Rose Ii-Epstein. For more information about Nothing Without a Company, Click here senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald,

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