Monday, October 15, 2018

Weekly Margin 2018, W41: King Kong, India Pale Ale, Your Invisible Corset

10/09/18: King Kong
What: It's a musical about King Kong, you guys.
And? Listen, everyone's going for the puppet, so I'll quickly go through the rest and then get to the meat: Terrible writing (not just clunky dialog--though, yes, that too--but so many character beats and moments that were entirely unearned). Questionable choreography choices. Often unintelligible lyrics. Christiani Pitts is pretty good as the lead. Mediocre costume design, not bad set design, excellent projection design, excellent sound design.

The puppet: wow. Gorgeously built and beautifully articulated and specific and (dare I say?) honest in the contemplative moments. The athleticism of the puppeteer crew is also thrilling to watch. However, the big guy can't move very quickly. Sometimes they compensate by staging the action sequences in slo mo, but not always; and when he's not in slo mo, he just seems, well, slow.

Sidenote: my friend (and co-blogger) Daniel and I have terrible luck with Broadway previews. We attended the infamously aborted first preview of Groundhog Day (a show we both loved; after an hour's pause, they resumed as a concert staging); at this performance of King Kong, the show paused for a half hour right before the titular character's first appearance. For both pauses, we were informed that whatever went wrong had never happened before. Obviously, Daniel and I are the common factor here. Our new band name is Technical Difficulty.

King Kong and Christiani Pitts as King Kong and Ann Darrow.
Photo by Joan Marcus.

10/12/18: India Pale Ale
What: Jaclyn Backhaus's new play about a tight-knit Sikh community in Wisconsin, and the rippling effects when one member leaves and a violent outsider invades. 
And? I loved Backhaus's earlier play, Men on Boats (also directed by IPA's Will Davis), but was let down by this show. It felt a little undercooked, both in the writing and the performance (particularly in the first half, I did not believe in the supposedly deeply rooted relationships among the family and friends gathered, and so much of the weight of the second half was lost.

The company. Photo by Joan Marcus.

10/13/18: Your Invisible Corset
What: Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, adapted to modern day and retold through Mina's eyes: Your Invisible Corset examines the stigma surrounding assault survivors, and what self-actualization truly looks like.
And? Full review here.

Patricia Lynn and Patrick T. Horn as Mina Murray-Harker and John Harker.
Photo by Al Foote III.

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