Atlantis (review)

Atlantis (review)
Atlantis (review)
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THE PLAY: Life is ideal in the mystical, magical lost kingdom, until a stranger washes up on their shores to challenge their basic beliefs.

 

THE PRODUCTION: While this is billed as “a new musical,” there’s nothing especially original in the staging or the story about a spunky young woman who yearns for what’s beyond her island. Even so, there’s little reason to care for her or most of the other rather nondescript characters (except maybe the sweet young girl played by Lucy Caudle). Even the comic duo’s repartee lacks spunk. After they open the second act, it’s pretty much one long dreary, dramatic song for the rest of the show. There’s no denying that the production is gifted with grand voices and earnest performances. The musical direction by Anthony Smith and team is solid, but the songs have a generic Broadway blandness. Director Kristin Hanggi has filled the stage with flash and movement, while the choreography by Kikau Alvaro feels stylistically unique. It’s always a challenge to create a new world. There should be exotic flourishes in the look and style. Some elements in Jason Sherwood’s beautifully dazzling set of trellises woven with leaves and lights feels original, while Amy Clark’s costumes are a jumbled mash-up of ancient civilizations (and not as eye-popping as their surroundings). BJ Wilkinson’s lights add to the flash. One thing that took me out of this world was the use of modern phrases like “ish” and “totally.” Then one of the major characters is named Alexa, which harkens back to my kitchen smart speaker. To top it off, 2 men (in what appeared to be modern dress) strolled across the stage to move a scenic element in Act 2. Running time:2:25

 

THE POINT: Despite the accomplished musical performances and the eye-popping tech, the muddled, rather bland story undermines the show’s appeal.

 

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

 

At Virginia Rep’s November Theatre thru 5/5.

 

LISTEN TO MY REVIEW (as aired on WRIR)

Company of Atlantis (Photos by Aaron Sutten)

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