Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Soggy Mess of Biblical Proportions

Theater Review

Not Wanted on the Voyage
A New Musical
American Music Theatre Project
Northwestern University
Ethel Barber Theatre
Thru August 8, 2010

I am not going to spend much time, space or rancor bashing Not Wanted on the Voyage as it gives me no pleasure to do so and even feels a bit wrong. Although written and directed by musical theatre creators with Broadway pedigrees, it is being presented for the first time as a project of the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University. Talented and enthusiastic students comprise the cast and I saw the very first public performance of the show while paying only Goldstar's $7.00 service fee to do so.

But despite a couple of promising numbers that opened the show--which tries to tell a story assimilating the Biblical tales of Adam & Eve, Abraham and Noah, among others, through characters with a bit more modern sensibilities--the first act quickly became a hard-to-follow hodgepodge. And while a theater-clearing fire alarm, caused by a fog machine, may be hard for any show to overcome (and the young actors deserved a round of applause for their aplomb), nothing that followed it was any more worthwhile than the 20 minutes spent standing outside.

I know much time will be spent on trying to improve the show, which certainly serves as a valuable learning experience, but I'm afraid there may not be much worth salvaging. The story was bad, the songs bland and the show way too long--even discounting for the unexpected interruption.

I applaud the aims and efforts of the AMTP, whose past works I've seen--Dangerous Beauty, In the Bubble and The Boys are Coming Home--have ranged from solid to stellar, but sadly, this was just one undesirable 'Voyage.'

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