Posts Tagged ‘Lucinda Skinner’

I nearly gave up at the interval. The main reason I returned was to find out how you can have a second half of a musical with two characters when one has died just before the interval. I’m glad I did though, as things picked up considerably.

This 1995 chamber piece is penned by Andrew Lippa (with Tom Greenwald), whose latest show – The Addams Family – made it to Broadway last year. The first half tells the story of a brother and sister growing up six years apart, taking us from the birth of John in 1952 to Jen’s brief return from college 19 years later to announce her emigration to Canada with her draft-dodging boy friend. John goes to Vietnam and dies and we all wonder what on earth is going to happen in the second act……..well, Jen is now a single mother and has named her son….guess….John. The second act tells us the story of her relationship with her son from his birth until it’s his turn to go to college.

This second act has so much more colour and true depth to the characterisation. There is a particularly good scene where the teenage years are played out as a sequence of chat show appearances . If only the first half hadn’t been so monotone and pedestrian; you really didn’t care for the characters or their story until just before the interval. The music was also more distinguished in the second half, moving from mostly modern-day recitative to proper songs.

Katie Brayben carries the piece as a passionate Jen, playful as she grows up and filled with a mother’s anguish later on. Adam Rhys-Davies only has to age to late teens, but does so extremely well, capturing both the innocence of childhood and teenage angst well. David Randall & Lucinda Skinner’s piano and cello accompaniment is lovely.

If ony they could do something about the first half, this could be a real treat……by the way, the pretentious small j’s are theirs not mine!

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