BRYCE: Hydrogen Blonde is a whirlwind. With the bass throbbing and lights pulsating, BRYCE transports the audience at the Logan Fringe Arts Space’s Trinidad Theatre to the throws of a raging pop concert – and on opening night, it even included screaming fans.
Much in the style of Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, BRYCE is “DC’s newest pop star.” Performing original electopop songs such as “Best Diq,” “Undress Me,” and “Cabana Boy,” BRYCE’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics are often about going to the club, having fun at the beach, or offering some choice words of wisdom to ex-boyfriends. There are nods to other well-known pop artists, including a cover of Janelle Monae’s “Yoga.” BRYCE’s pop star status is complete with a big over-ear mic, back up dancers, and outlandish costumes.
Bryce Sulecki, the mastermind behind BRYCE, is a solid performer: confidently portraying the strutting, simpering, sexy swagger expected of a pop star. While perhaps not totally on par with today’s megastars, Bryce’s vocals and dance moves don’t disappoint. But it was in an unexpected acoustic country number where BRYCE’s vocal talent shone through the strongest, with guitar played by guest artist Matt Winton. Much like Lady Gaga, there are some serious pipes hiding behind the eccentric pop regalia!
Between song sets, BRYCE takes the occasional break, grabbing water and chatting with the audience. There is bit of audience interaction, so if that kind of thing makes you squeamish, I’d advise sitting back a few rows.
It was during one of these breaks that BRYCE exclaimed, “this is theatre!” And while I’m loathe to enter into a discussion on the definition of theatre and all of the many, many things it can be, I would argue that a more appropriate label for this production would be concert or revue.
BRYCE: Hydrogen Blonde
Details and tickets
It does not provide any story or context. Which is not a negative by any means – just perhaps this particular theatregoer had been hoping for a bit more narrative or political angle – maybe something in the vein of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I am left feeling that perhaps an opportunity was lost to give more direct voice to the cultural absence of a gay male pop star fulfilled by BRYCE.
The technical elements are on point with club style lighting by Tyler D. Dubuc and music complete with background vocals produced by Julia Kaufman, Rebecca Taylor, Hiliary Morrow, and Bryce. Nia Calloway and Zhane’ Davis-Smith are terrific as BRYCE’s backup dancers, keeping up with Sara Herrera’s aerobic and timely pop star choreography. Costumes for BRYCE and the girls encompass a wide range: from skin-tight pleather and knee high boots to bright neon workout gear – with many of the changes happening onstage in audience view. Hilary Morrow makes a delightful guest appearance (and talk about pipes!).
While short on narrative, BRYCE: Hydrogen Blonde is a true rocking pop concert that would be a wonderful compliment to a night out at the Fringe bar.
BRYCE: Hydrogen Blonde. Starring and Produced by: Bryce Sulecki. Dancers: Nia Calloway and Zhane’ Davis-Smith. Featuring: Hilary Morrow and Matt Winton. Choreographer: Sara Herrera. Production Manager: Nicole Cusick. Lighting Designer: Tyler D. Dubuc. Marketing Manager: Marc Langston. Music Production Team: Julia Kaufman, Rebecca Taylor, Hilary Morrow, Bryce Sulecki. Reviewed by Sarah Scafidi.