Posts Tagged ‘Damon Intrabartolo’

However good your staging and design, however fine the performances, however impressive the production values; if the material is poor, you still end up with a dud. A well produced dud, but a dud nonetheless. And, sadly, so it is…..

This 13-year old American show is getting its London premiere (clue?). It appears to be the only show written by Damon Intrabartolo & Jon Hartmere (2nd clue?). It was originally called a ‘pop opera’, then changed to a ‘rock musical’ – it’s virtually sung through, so in my book, it’s a pop opera. Even though it’s only 13 years old, it seems ever so dated.

We’re in a US catholic boarding school. Matt is in love with Ivy. Ivy is in love with Jason. Peter is also in love with Jason. Jason appears to be in love with both Ivy and Peter. They are rehearsing and performing Romeo is Juliet. Romeo is Jason & Ivy is Juliet, obviously. Peter is Mercutio & Matt is Tybalt,  obviously. It’s all about their sexual awakenings and it all ends in tears, obviously. The problem is it’s too contrived for its own good. It starts as earnest and becomes melodramatic. The characters are stereotypes.  The score is bland pop-rock. Musicals-by-numbers. I’m easily moved, but it left me cold.

When you walk into the Union Theatre, you can’t fail to be impressed by its transformation to a school chapel, complete with leaded windows and gilt altar. In fact, the only gripes I have with the production are that the three ‘nightmare’ sequences are not signposted / differentiated enough and the unamplified vocals are uneven and inconsistent and therefore sometimes incoherent or inaudible (this could be because I was in the side block with the band behind me). Otherwise, it’s a lot of talent focused on a work that isn’t worthy of it.

In a fine young ensemble, Hannah Levane stands out as teacher Chantelle and there’s an impressive professional debut from Melanie Greaney as Jason’s sister, token fat girl (and nurse in the play within) plus a small but excellent contribution from Yvette Robinson as Peter’s mum.

There’s bags of talent and fine craftsmanship, but it’s still a dud.

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