By Brian Morton
Published July 25, 2019
At first glance, this brand new musical, set in a bar Red Creek, Alberta, a formerly prosperous mining town, seems to be living in much the same territory as Diamond in The Rough, which is also playing at the Player's Guild Studio Theatre on Queen Street South.
When the lights come up we see a bar, some stools and a band that is playing music to the regular customers. Some songs are sung, and then something odd happens, which I won't reveal here, as I do not want to spoil your experience if you see the show.
Suffice to say that very quickly, the play veers off into the same territory that Keanu Reeves explored in "The Matrix", and things become quite "meta-theatrical", to swipe a term from pop-culture.
Like the characters in Luigi Pirandello's 1921 stage play, "Six Characters in Search of An Author", we begin to question the very scenes that we have previously seen, and in the repetition of them over and over again, we start to wonder what is the mystical thread that holds it all together.
I have read enough of the works of American pulp fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft to wonder at a possible solution, but in the end, I think it is up to each viewer of the play to piece it together themselves, based upon whatever sense that they can glean from the text.
To the good, the songs in this original musical are well sung and carefully arranged, with most of the cast doing double duty as musicians, playing piano, bass, drums and electric guitar. There were perhaps some minor issues with the sound balance, as without microphones, the band a few times drowned out the lyrics.
My biggest problem with the play was just my own lack of suspension of disbelief at the ending. The script itself veers off ninety degrees from where I thought it was going, and perhaps got even a tiny bit silly in the end. Your experience may vary, as the internet expression goes. But I think a reexamination of the internal logic of the play might be in order.
Still, there is a good and strong cast here who certainly know how to sing and created live music. Most of the actors are from the Brampton area, and on the whole I think their efforts in the show deserve to be commended.
Hopefully, in a future draft of this quirky, original musical by Jordan May, some of these issues can be addressed. But then that is one of the joys of the Hamilton Fringe: for the artists involved in it, the chance to get to do your own thing, and produce your own show, free from the interference of others.
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