Saturday, 6 August 2011

SummerWorks Review: Hero & Leander

HERO & LEANDER
Company: Common Descent
Lyrics: Wade Bogert-O’Brien, Music: Scott Christian, Book: Kevin Michael Shea
Director: Kevin Michael Shea

Description: Two would-be lovers must overcome the dangerous sea that divides them, and hide their affair from a disillusioned Venus. Common Descent turns ancient tragedy into romantic comedy in this musical about love, sex, and commitment.

My Rating: ** 2/5 Stars

My Review: There is a great story here, but as I watched the play unfold, I concluded that the current version wasn't ready to be told by this ensemble. With the exception of Rob Kempson, who plays Ganymede, a former prince, now love slave/boyfriend of the callous, non-monogamous Neptune, the cast is not strong enough to take the material to the heights and lows the scripts demand. The character of Venus should a Diva of a lush, with more bawdy dialogue than she is presently given. Actress Kimberly Persona tries her best, and her song about love "what is it?" should have brought the house down, but the role is too big for her and the number goes nowhere. Kaitlin Torrance in the role of Hero has a lovely voice and projects well, but she lacks the ebullience needed for the ingenue role. Fraser Elsdon has the athletic body needed for the Leander the lifeguard, but he doesn't sizzle with Torrance's Hero. Neptune, the debauched Olympian looking to foil the budding love between Hero and Leander is competently played by Rick Jon Egan, but in a play with such potential for delightful decadence, competent is just not good enough. this play is an ugly duckling waiting to be a swan.

Factory Theatre Mainspace
Saturday August 6th 7:30 PM
Sunday August August 7th 10:00 PM
Wednesday August 10th 7:30 PM
Friday August 12th 2:30 PM
Saturday August 13th 5:00 PM
Estimated Running time: 75 minutes

www.summerworks.ca
August 4 - 14th
Various venues
Single Tickets $15

3 comments:

In awe of Art said...

Nasty,unfair review. You have to be more than a"nattering, nabob of negitivity" to be a legitimate critic of this fine work.

donna g said...

Dear In Awe, thank you for taking the time to share your response; I always welcome different points of view. Why don't you publicly display your love of this show by posting why you thought this play was "wonderful"? Someone might go see the show based on what you have to say.

Anonymous said...

Same conclusion, but differing reasons.

Cast was decent (props to Venus) and the text was funny although filled with too many crude sex jokes much like Young Frankenstein.

The weakest part was the music/lyrics (not technically but positioning within the story). Venus' song about love was mind-blowingly good. Two others were nice but the rest forgettable. Would loved to hear more duets and more mixing of text + song. More importantly, the songs were triggered at bizarre times(I didn't believe they were needed) and many of them merely repeated the same "idea" (within the song) repeatedly without advancing the character or plot so honestly they were quite boring. If 5 songs were deleted I don't think the musical would have been worse off.