Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

I Will Not Go Gently
People's Light
Review by Rebecca Rendell | Season Schedule

Also see Rebecca's review of Noises Off

Jennifer Childs
Photo by Mark Garvin
It takes more than 40 minutes for me to drive to People's Light in Malvern. With so much great theater right in Center City I sometimes wonder if it's really necessary to make the trek out to the suburbs. But then they put on a production so innovative, inspiring, and downright hilarious that to miss it would be a tragedy. With a delightfully mordant sense of humor and a half dozen original songs that will have you playing air guitar in your bedroom for days, I Will Not Go Gently is just such a gem. I would walk to Malvern to see it, and you should go, too.

The brainchild of Philadelphia comedy queen Jennifer Childs, I Will Not Go Gently is two parts Anna Deavere Smith and one part Spinal Tap. Aging rock star Sierra Mist (the soda stole her name, not the other way round, thank you very much) has been out of the public eye for 15 years following the release of her poorly received Y2K concept album. Mist is ready to start her big comeback tour, but technical difficulties and concerns about her continued relevance keep getting in the way. Childs is ridiculously funny as the increasingly frustrated rocker, super fan turned blogging soccer mom Abby, Abby's skeptical teenage daughter, and her elderly stand-up comic grandmother, just to name a few. The original rock songs by Childs and Christopher Colucci are riotously funny, but like all great parody they are also fantastic examples of the genre in and of themselves.

I Will Not Go Gently is a gigantic middle finger to a pop culture that insists women are not worthy of attention once they reach the ripe old age of 26. It is an homage to any parent who has given up the potential prime of their careers to raise a child. It is a wry acknowledgment that every generation must make the same mistakes and a provocative suggestion that we do not have to accept the roles society would assign us. Even more impressive, I Will Not Go Gently does all of this without ever being didactic or sounding preachy. You just rock out and laugh your ass off for 90 minutes and then leave feeling that your soul has been somehow nourished. It is definitely an experience worth taking a Lyft for.

I Will Not Go Gently, though April 15th, 2018, on the Steinbright Stage at the People's Light, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern PA. For tickets call the Box Office at 610-644-3500 or visit

Sierra/Abby et al. Jennifer Childs*

Production Team:
Director: Harriet Power
Set Designer: Lance Kniskern
Costume Designer: Rosemarie McKelvey
Lighting Designer: Lily Fossner
Sound Designer: Christopher Colucci
Video Designer: Jorge Cousineau
Stage Manager: Thomas E. Shotkin*
Line Producer: Abigail Adams * Member, Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.