Don’t Forget The Umlaut

Review of Das Barbecü by Anna B.

Das Barbecü (don’t forget the umlaut) is all good fun. Really, it is. If Wagner’s epic 15+ hour opera (known as Der Ring des Nibelungen) ran full tilt into Texas, this musical was the result. Stern and somber Teutonic gods, made over with the addition of a guitar, fringed vest, and cowboy hat, suddenly blend in with the desert scenery. Add some twangy country music, thick accents, and a bit of two-step and that’s Das Barbecü. It’s an amazing show—confused fiancés, meddling parents, dancing triplets, a spiteful dwarf—these all make for quite an entertaining plotline. It even won over the skeptical redhead I invited to attend with me.

Jennifer Sue Johnson, Carter J. Davis, and Billie Wildrick (The Norn Triplets) in Das Barbecü photo by Chris Bennion

But this is just Das Barbecü by itself. If you look slightly deeper then the surface (i.e. deeper then the "y’alls" scattered liberally throughout the play), Wagner is still there. His themes of true love, nobility and sacrifice resonate throughout the play, and the humanity of his gods and men remains. Das Barbecü does not mock Wagner’s Ring, despite the Texas twang. It presents the same passionate saga, it's just more accessible (and funnier, too). This musical really is the Ring—despite the immense barbecue in the middle. And though you may not have a cynical redhead to provide occasional sarcastic commentary, you still can find much amusement in Das Barbecü. Siegfried and Brunnhilde will win you over soon enough—despite the, erm, familial issues with their relationship.

- Anna B.
Thursday, August 6th

Das Barbecü
ACT Theatre
Through September 6th

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