MvVO Art Launches AD ART SHOW

Paper Bullets Brings Back the Swinging Sixties

Paper Bullets Brings Back the Swinging Sixties

Those Paper Bullets

Like the silliness of any Beatles movie or the Mike Myers “Austin Powers” films, Shakespeare has now been given a zany update. These Paper Bullets!, is a 60’s, drug infested update of Much Ado About Nothing straight from Yale Rep and now by the Atlantic Theater Company.

Nicole Parker , James Barry

Nicole Parker and James Barry

Forget the text as you thought you knew it, Rolin Jones’s has created his own version of Shakespeare dialogue. Oh, you will still have a sense of the story line, but that is about where that ends. The music is an homage to the Beatles, with the melodies penned by Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) with orchestrations by Tom Kitt. Most of them are forgettable though lively and energetic.

Those Paper Bullets

Thrust into London during the Swinging Sixties, The Quartos rule the rock scene with pantie throwing teens swooning for their attention. In tight pants, skinny ties and mop top hairstyles these boys are the toast of the town, except to Bea (Nicole Parker), a Carnaby Street fashion designer (think Mary Quant.) Here Bea and Ben (Justin Kirk), the lead singer spar. When her cousin, Quaalude addicted top model Higgy (Ariana Venturi), falls for Quatro member Claude (Bryan Fenkart), everyone gets together to get Bea and Ben to see the light.

Higgy (Ariana Venturi), father, Leo Messina (Stephen DeRosa), owns the Hotel Messina where the band lives and most of the action takes place. Ex band member Don Best (Adam O’Byrne), does his best to cause trouble. He is furious his half brother, Pedro (James Barry), is now a Quatro. Think Pete Best, the Beatles’ original drummer, who was sacked from the Beatles for no good reason. Don’s plan to break up Claude and Higgy concern’s doctoring of a photo, by tabloid journalist Boris (Andrew Musselman.)

In the meantime there is a sub plot the bogs down the show concerning Scotland Yard. Mr. Berry (Greg Stuhr) and Mr. Urges (Brad Heberlee) and their bumbling idiot boss Mr. Cake (Tony Manna) are trying to get the goods on the Quatro’s whom they suspect have criminal activities that are harming the youth of today. Also an annoying BBC reporter ( Liz Wisan) keeps breaking up the action.

Nicole Parker and Justin Kirk have chemistry, but lack that cutting wit to make the sparing delightful. Mr. Fenkart brings sincerity to his role.  Lucas Papaelias as the forth Quatro Balth and Keira Naughton as the boozy Ulcie, the real girl in the photo bring winning performances with the least amount of effort. Mr. O’Byrne makes a sexy, villain and we actually root for him. Almost stealing the show are Ms. Venturi who pops a Quaalude or 3 or 6 to walk down the aisle and Mr. Geary, who portrays Queen Elizabeth who attends the wedding of the century.

Jackson Gay, totally gets this era of slapstick comedy and you feel as if you have been drop kicked into the 60’s. The set design, by the Michael Yeargan, projections by Nicholas Hussong, costumes by Jessica Ford and hairstyling’s Denise O’Brien are smashing. Mr Jone’s two and half hour script needs to be trimmed. Two and half hours of stick is just way too much.

If you are expecting depth this is not the show for you, but you will find yourself remembering those simpler freer times. I left singing “A Hard Days Night.”

These Paper Bullets!: Atlantic Theater Company, 330 West 16th until Jan. 10th.


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

More in Entertainment

The Glorious Corner

G. H. HARDINGJanuary 28, 2022

John Lloyd Young Back Where He Belongs

Magda KatzJanuary 28, 2022

Free Dance Class For All Meet Eddy Rosales Chavez From The Movement

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 28, 2022

Steam! Starts Steaming Today on the LGBTQ Network Revry

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 28, 2022

The Ride and The Tour – Two Big Premieres

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 28, 2022

HBO’s The Gilded Age Fails to Sizzle in Episode One. Fingers Crossed Going Forward

RossJanuary 27, 2022

The Play That Goes Wrong – This Wrong Is Oh So Right!

Stephen BestJanuary 27, 2022

Michael Urie Stars as Shakespeare in Jacobean Feminist Revenge Comedy Jane Anger

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 27, 2022

Broadway Divafest! Takes Over the Argyle Theatre

Genevieve Rafter KeddyJanuary 27, 2022