Friday, March 28, 2008

'Twas strange, 'twas passing strange

Last night, Jamie and I braved the maddening throng of Times Square, pushing our way through slow tourists and guys asking "you like comedy?" all to try and see Passing Strange. Was it worth it? Sadly, no.

I wanted to like this play a lot. It's gotten great reviews, been heralded as "wonderful, and a welcome anomaly on Broadway" by the New York Times' Charles Isherwood. Plus it started out at the Berkeley Rep, which is very near and dear to my heart and hometown. But you know the problem when you go into something with high expectations - um.........I'm sure there's a clever saying for it, but I don't know what it is. They get crushed! (or something)

The thing that really REALLY annoyed me about this production has nothing to do with the artistic merits of the show - the problem was the sound mixing. The band was so much louder than the vocals that I couldn't understand what the actors were saying most of the time. In a show that's about 80% music, that's a big problem (plus, it was just so loud! I know, I'm a young person, I should like loud music. But I don't. I'm secretly a 90 year old woman. So there). But the point is, I couldn't understand what they were saying, so I don't know if I liked the show or not. Sometimes there were quiet moments where I could understand what was going on and mostly, I liked those parts.

I think maybe I should go again and try to get better seats (I blamed some of the sound problems on the fact that I was in the balcony - who cares if the cheap seats can hear?). Zack has to see this show anyways - the lights were really cool (there was an entire wall of lights! Awesome). So perhaps my opinion will change once I know what's going on.

But maybe not. I'm not really the target demographic for this show. I'm not cool and alternative and I like traditional musicals (I like other things too! But I really like musicals. I blame my dad for renting them for me when I was a kid).

If you like loud music, I think it's probably worth seeing. But if the idea of a rock concert/show really makes your nose crinkle, then this is not the show for you.


Meredith said...

Michael's brother was in the orchestra and had none of those problems, so sadly this is a case of them not caring about the poor seats. Boo to that. He said that Stu was awesome. They didn't think the show was perfect though. Interesting though.

Asha Sundararaman said...

two of my friends who went to see it and didn't like it either. apparently there are lot of references that are meant for a black audiences (according to my roommate's friend)