Songs from Bedlam (review)

Songs from Bedlam (review)
Songs from Bedlam (review)
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THE PLAY: Although the title refers to London’s famed hospital for the mentally ill, this is a collection of extended monologues from a disparate group of troubled people.

 

THE PRODUCTION: This play (not a musical, although there are a few ditties) gives the cast a chance to play subdued, slightly off-kilter characters…not stereotypical “loonies” (although they could have used a bit more intensity to be convincingly neurotic). I’m not sure if this is the fault of director Todd LaBelle, Jr. (who might have pushed them further) or local playwright Douglas Jones (whose script maintains a largely subdued approach to the characters’ issues). Either way, the play moves at a laconic pace that challenges patience. The actors are all competent, although the women seemed to standout more (again, not sure if it’s the writing or the actors). The sign language segment became frustrating, as it goes on too long without interpretation. Chris Raintree has created a minimal black wall that uses slide-out panels for visual interest. Andrew Bonniwell’s color-saturated lights bring a much-appreciated addition of texture and drama. Ryan Dygert’s sound design is often barely perceptible, which makes it that much more compelling. Running time: 1:10

 

THE POINT: The technical aspects are more interesting than the performances, rendering the production challenging to absorb and emotionally unaffecting.

 

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

At Firehouse Theatre thru 11/4

 

Axle Burtness (Photos by Tom Topinka)

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