Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Venue: Musical Theatre- George Square 2
Festival: Edinburgh Fringe
A serious and terrifying topic is dealt with in an upbeat and witty way: through the genre of music. A tiny band – well a piano and select wind instruments – delightfully whisk it’s audience through a story about relationships, sexuality and loss. This cast of seven are all fantastically charismatic onstage, have wonderfully pitch perfect voices and are suitably camp- Cabaret. Definitely recommended!
The 80s, America. Deep in the mist of the AIDS epidemic, a straight- laced Jewish family is not as straight (excuse the pun) as it would seem. Melvin, father and husband leaves his wife for another man, Wizzer. She marries his psychiatrist and continues a normal family life for her son Jason, who’s soon to have his Bar Mirtzvah. The story that lies ahead follows the interlinked lives of these characters and has a tragic poignant ending.
The entirety of the dialogue is sung. This may seem like an obvious observation, (I am aware that it is a musical) but there is absolutely no spoken dialogue. This can get a little tiresome from time to time. However, the lyrics are always witty, fun and light-hearted and the music itself is both well executed and nicely continuous: all of the songs fit together well and instrumentals become the driving force behind the plot.. Hats off to the pianist; playing continually and without error for the whole 60 minutes.
The script is well crafted, mixing comedy with a serious undertone. AIDS is a topical theme and dealing with it in an original format is refreshing and interesting to watch. Very few props are used, only a sofa and a hospital bed are on display. However, they are used to their upmost capabilities and show inventive direction.
None of the characters have a great deal of deep profound personality, but that fits with the light-hearted nature of the musical. There is, however, one problem, Melvin’s new lover looks about the same age as his son. The casting is a little off in this respect, as it just doesn’t work. The relationship between Melvin and Wizzer also feels a little bit forced and somewhat uncomfortable, something that will develop and change with time.
This piece would benefit from a few tweaks and changes. Fun and profound, it’s worth seeing.