So ultimately this felt very much as if it was still in the workshop stage. That said, it felt in pretty good shape for a workshop. I thought a lot of the songs were good and the lyrics too. As a whole, the whole thing felt a little jumpy. Without getting too far into plot synopsis, I felt that the show was tugging at itself in two directions. I saw this reveal itself in all of the writing both book and music. There was a central plot element that to me as the plot went on seemed rather unimportant actually. This plot point was often returned to in flashbacks and songs, but there was a lot of other plot going on, and it didn’t seem to be the crux of the show that the team intended. As a result I felt that in many respects I was watching two shows unfurl at the same time. They were definitely running parallel and crossed a few times, but they didn’t quite run on the same path. This was evident through musical styles as well as with the book. Though on one hand I applaud the variety of genres, on the other, the package didn’t settle in completely. Though I admit, it might have been the minimalist design of the show. Congrats to the lighting designer who pulled off anything at all in a church sanctuary. I also felt the talent to be a little lopsided. The cast for the most part was a group of very talented singers, who again for the most part navigated the style, from classic ballad to hard rap very well. For some the singing was so obviously their strong suit, and their acting left much to be desired.
Zac expressed that they are interested in remounting the show in New York after letting it marinade for a bit. I think that’s a great idea. I am excited to see the show’s development after some structural repairing and casting changes.
Back in New York, I was lucky enough to catch the Encore Fringe production of Jurassic Parq: A Broadway Musical. It was enormously clever! I absolutely loved it. It was the Jurassic Park story told from the perspective of the dinosaurs. They were forced to reckon with their creation and the sudden shift in their sexuality (they were all women remember – until they weren’t!)… it was very deep. This led of course to the eternal struggle between faith and science, dinosoified (that’s personified for dinosaurs) by the Velociraptor of Science (played by a 70 year old woman) and the Velociraptor of Faith (played by John Jeffrey Martin – who is kind of famous and bought me McDonalds a few years ago – he totally wouldn’t remember but thanks!). This is mirrored by the struggle of our narrator Morgan Freeman, or is it (Samuel L. Jackson) going on his own voyage of self discovery. Though I do think there is some polishing to be done (some of the individual jokes go on a little too long, which I think the team knows) and the musicality of the songs are not the strong suit of the show. But I know that wasn’t really the point. The point was to be goofy as hell. But the dancing was incredible! And the cast sold it within an inch of its life. I have no doubt there will be a future to this piece. Hey, it might even be true to its name.
Just one highlight – sheer poetry from Velociraptor of Science (70 year old woman mind you – during her rap): The “S” in Science is for suck my dick.
And that’s all for my 2010 Fringe experience. Only 300 some odd days to prepare for next year!