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Broadway Baby: Scenes From Hello Again (01/07/14)

Find the original article here.

This show is a work in progress and has been reviewed with that in mind. 

It’s difficult to gage how well these characters will grow into fully formed people rather than flagrant sex bots as we only have a few scenes to judge them on, but at least the comedic timing rarely falters and the chemistry between each lover is so aflame that I made a nervous mental note of the nearest fire exits within the first twenty seconds.

Director Tania Azevedo presents a work in progress showcase of the musical “Hello Again” to the Blue Elephant Theatre, providing a few slivers of inspiration amongst a still roughly hewn smattering of songs and stories.

Michael John LaChiusa’s original work that Azevedo builds upon is an adult musical fantasy from the distant, distant past of 1993 that looks to a slightly older nineteenth century play “La Ronde” by Arthur Schnitzler for its inspiration. None of this particularly matters, because we’re all here for the theme – the highs and lows (quite literally – wahey) of sex. ‘Fess up. It’s what drew you to this very page. Ten characters, in ten scenes set throughout the ages, getting down to the ‘ol horizontal hokey cokey. Except of course, as Azevedo’s production is currently a work in progress and therefore a few scenes short of ten, this version of “Hello Again” is very much the dramatic equivalent of a premature ejaculation.

“Sounds like my kind of show!” you say, excitedly. Well yes, there’s still several highlights to enjoy in this trembling young version. LaChiusa’s dialogue is at times hugely comical and the actors certainly help this come alive, particularly in an amusing scene between a college boy (Joshua Brant) and his nurse (Ella Vize), who grows increasingly rampant as time ticks on. It’s difficult to gage how well these characters will grow into fully formed people rather than flagrant sex bots as we only have a few scenes to judge them on, but at least the comedic timing rarely falters and the chemistry between each lover is so aflame that I made a nervous mental note of the nearest fire exits within the first twenty seconds.

As for the elements that still need some work, the biggest aspect is probably the changing of scenes. At the moment, it seems to consist of the whole cast going “walk-walk-walk-pause in the spotlight-pretend intellectual stare at nothing-walk-walk-walk” at various rates across the stage. Just about passable once, but very soon it gets tedious, and rather than connecting each scene together, only serves to make them seem random and detached. However, this is undoubtedly an element that will be developed in time to make the production flow better as a whole.

The music itself although not entirely catchy is played with some verve by the pianist and on the whole sung well by the cast. Whether this can become more than a few smutty jokes elevated to a entire song-sheet remains to be seen for now, but with the talented and enthusiastic cast it shouldn’t be too difficult to turn this wide-eyed work in progress into a filthy old fully formed strumpet.

3/5

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