Written by 6:46 pm Claire Trevor School of Arts, Musical, Review, Theater, UCI, Uncategorized

Claire Trevor School of the Arts Presents: Airness @ UCI – Review

Photos by Paul R. Kennedy

Written by Patrick Chavis

Air guitar competitions  — now that is a unique subject matter to cover in a play. I’m not a virgin to the rocking art of air guitar. I’ve never competed, but my bedroom competitions in High School were LEGENDARY! Airness, playing now at UCI’s Claire Trevor Theater, lacks a potent antagonist and relies on the kitsch factor of air guitar and its quirky characters. It’s barely enough to keep things interesting.

Airness is the story of Nina, played by Rachel Lykins, a former guitar player in a real band who tries her hand at air guitar competitions. She meets a group of dedicated air guitar competitors and does her best to learn the ropes of competitive air guitar, but Nina has a secret that could destroy her new friendships and newfound air guitar career.


UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts Department of Drama proudly presents “Airness.” Written by Chelsea Marcantel, Directed by Eli Simon. February 4-12, 2023. Claire Trevor Theatre at UCI. Photos by Paul R. Kennedy.

This is a lighthearted story. It’s not looking to delve into anything incredibly deep, and it doesn’t have to. Some plays can just be fun. I think that’s what playwright Chelsea Marcantel is trying to do with Airness. The characters are interesting enough, but the conflict bubbling below the surface is barely an inconvenience for our protagonist Nina and one of the least interesting parts of the show.  One of the most exciting parts of competition is the challenge of the tournament. The way it’s split up in this show, the offstage is emphasized more. Less talky, more attitude, I say. It’s a rock show, and I want to rock!


I’ll tell you what the set by designer Efren Delgadillo Jr. came to rock!  The set looks like the inside of a hard rock cafe with a bar full of liquor in the back. There’s an extended platform in the middle of the stage reaching into the audience and the oh-so-necessary green room with a grungy-looking couch.


The acting in this show is technically good, but there was stiffness and a liveliness was missing from the characters that imitate these larger-than-life rock stars. There are moments though that shine bright, and it takes almost the entire show before you can watch Shreddy Eddy, played by Tim Frangos, to wake up the audience with a charismatic performance.

Airness has a short run. You can catch it Feb 4 – 12.

7.8 Overall
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Tags: , , , , , , Last modified: May 25, 2023