Excellent! Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens Theatre (Through May 5, 2019)

A young rock band is making a new album in Cambodia. Instead of fleeing the country when it is eminent that the Khmer Rouge will be taking over, they decide to stay and play one last show. This turns out to be a major mistake when the Americans withdraw their forces and the Khmer Rouge takes over the airport. Their chance for escape is gone. Thirty years later, the daughter of one of the band members returns to Cambodia seeking justice for the prisoners of S21 and answers about her father’s history.

The play combines these dramatic scenes with live performances of music by Dengue Fever, an LA band that plays Cambodian 1960’s style rock fronted by a Cambodian pop star. The band is playing across the street on May 1st!
The actors in this productions are very talented. In addition to performing the dramatic scenes, they also play their instruments live and sing! Greg Watanbee’s range from a goofy father to the bass player to the prisoner is especially impressive. The rest of the cast consists of Rammel Chan, Eileen Doan, Christopher Thomas Pow, Peter Sipla, Aja Wiltshire, and Matthew C. Yee.
There are a few small things that could be improved. Firstly, not shining the concert lights directly into the audiences and blinding them. Secondly, after the extremely dramatic scene at the end, the band should play a slower sad song before playing the upbeat fun songs. Jumping straight to the happy song was a very abrupt transition, like in You Got Older. Playing a cover like, The Times They Are a Changing, which they do use at another point

King of the Yees, also written by Lauren Yee, is also about a daughter exploring the past of her father. Both plays combine humor and drama, though Cambodian Rock Band is much more intense.
Get tickets now for Cambodian Rock Band through May 5th!
Cost of a ticket: $52
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
Quinn Delaney
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2 thoughts on “Excellent! Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens Theatre (Through May 5, 2019)

  1. Pingback: Excellent! The Great Leap at Steppenwolf Theatre (Through October 20, 2019) | PlaylistHQ

  2. Pingback: Interesting! Remy Bumppo Theatre Company Presents Passage at Theater Wit (Through April 10, 2022) | PlaylistHQ

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