More Classic Than Cutting-Edge, The Undeniable Sound of Right Now Will Grab You Just the Same


What does your era sound like, and how will you know when it ends? The Undeniable Sound of Right Now — Laura Eason’s sweet, funny new play, directed by Kirsten Kelly for the Rattlestick — explores this perennial question, conjuring a charming portrait of a music scene teetering on the verge of generational change.

Twenty-five years ago, Hank (Jeb Brown) founded Hank’s Bar, a now-venerable Chicago club that championed under-recognized bands and hosted era-defining concerts. Posters and memorabilia from the Doors, the Clash, and Fleetwood Mac litter the bar’s grimy, duct-taped benches and peeling walls. (John McDermott designed the picture-perfect set.) But now it’s the early Nineties and the kids are lining up for DJs who spin at all-night warehouse raves. If that’s not enough to set Hank on edge, his daughter and club manager Lena (Margo Seibert) starts dating one of the DJs — just as creeping gentrification threatens the bar’s longstanding lease.

Undeniable treads well-worn dramatic territory, staging face-offs between landlord and tenant, cranky dad and rebellious daughter, the voice of the old and the voice of the new. After a few too many exchanges about nostalgia, memory, and whether DJs really count as artists, these themes become repetitive. Still, Eason’s witty dialogue, and Brown and Seibert’s father-daughter intensity, make this a welcome act — even if it’s more classic than cutting-edge.