Thursday May 9, 2013 / 8:00pmThis Side of Paradise
How was your experience?
I'd give this show a C-minus; it was decently performed on the part of the actors, but the material they worked with and some of the direction left me disappointed. This is a story that doesn't feel as though it should be turned into a musical, or at least this incarnation of a musical. Lyrically, I found the music to be trite and unsophisticated (in unfortunate contrast to one song title, "God, I'm Sophisticated"), and musically, the show committed the sin of having too many same-sounding ballads which don't serve to advance the plot. On that same note, the director seemed to come up short on different ways to block these ballads, and the actors frequently end up singing while sitting on scenery downstage, which is problematic in two ways: 1. Audience view is blocked by the people in front of them (a concern that should be considered in advance when you're blocking in an empty house) and 2. When you *can* see it, it's not engaging enough to hold your attention. In order for a new musical, or any musical for that matter, to grab and hold the audience, the songs can't get in the way of the most important thing happening on the stage: the story.