Theatre

Shel Shocked: An Evening Of Silverstein

Shel Shocked: An Evening Of Silverstein

For most, the name Shel Silverstein brings up fond memories. Countless people read his poems as a child. Though many don’t realize that his children’s works were a drastic switch from his themes of the past. The multitalented author, poet, cartoonist, songwriter and playwright’s earlier works tended to be a bit darker, often focusing on sex, drugs and death.

“But remember that for all your pain and gain
Eventually the story ends the same…
You can quit smokin’, but you’re still gonna die.
Cut out cokin’, but you’re still gonna die.
Eliminate everything fatty or fried,
And you get real healthy, but you’re still gonna die.
Stop drinkin’ booze, you’re still gonna die.
Stay away from cooze, you’re still gonna die.
You can cut out coffee and never get high,
But you’re still gonna, still gonna, still gonna die.”

– from Shel Silverstein’s “Still Gonna Die”

For most, the name Shel Silverstein brings up fond memories. Countless people read his poems as a child. Though many don’t realize that his children’s works were a drastic switch from his themes of the past. The multitalented author, poet, cartoonist, songwriter and playwright’s earlier works tended to be a bit darker, often focusing on sex, drugs and death.

“Shel Shocked,” a show presented by JT “Chops” Walker and Brent “Blam” Lambert of Shadowbox Live, does a remarkable job of bridging the gap between Shel’s earlier and later works. The show is split into two hour-long segments. The first narrows in on Silverstein’s sharp social commentary, while the second act focuses on his observations on sex and drugs.

Shadowbox’s JT Walker does a phenomenal job bringing Silverstein’s work to life. As a long-time leading actor at Shadowbox, Walker shows off expert comedic timing and captures the meter and feeling of Silverstein’s work wonderfully. An avid fan of Shel Silverstein since childhood, Walker convinced Shadowbox to let him perform “The Smoke-Off” for one of their previous sketch comedy and rock ‘n’ roll shows, which ultimately led to this show with Brent Lambert.

Lambert has worked as a guitarist at Shadowbox Live since his high school days. Throughout his tenure, he’s been honing his craft, playing an average of five rock shows each week. Needless to say, he was more than on top of the fairly simple riffs involved in Shel Silverstein’s music. While Brent doesn’t really stand out in this show, he did a fantastic job of holding it down. Check out one of Shadowbox’s main stage shows if you really want to see Lambert shine.

Whether you’ve been a fan of Shel Silverstein your whole life or have never heard of the dirty old coot, this show is a delightful way to spend an evening. The date of the next show has yet to be announced, but rest assured, they’ll bring it back. You’ll just have to settle for reading your own Shel Silverstein for now!

Eli Rousculp

Eli Rousculp writes reviews, articles and photographs for NID Magazine.