Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Gone Missing

photo: Sheldon Noland

I'm more than a little disappointed that this rave-reviewed documentary musical left me exhausted and underwhelmed: even at an intermissionless seventy five minutes it felt woefully overextended. Six members of the downtown troupe The Civilians, clad in nearly uniform grey suits, deliver a collage of songs, comic bits and dramatic monologues all based on interviews with New Yorkers who've lost something. The show has some strong, isolated moments (a funny monologue about disposeaphobics, delivered by Jennifer R. Morris, was my favorite bit, and Michael Friedman's songs, which come in a variety of genre flavors, are often engaging) but they don't add up to much because the evening hasn't been organized into something cohesive and it hasn't been shaped to have momentum. It's scattershot and muddled, as meandering at the end as it is at the start. A vignette about the loss of a black Gucci pump might be tossed between one about lost virginity, and one about the lost continent of Atlantis: the theme of "missing" is too widely applied and the episodes pile up in an everything but the kitchen sink clutter. The show had already, um, lost me by the time it tried to sweep everything together with an eleventh hour attempt at profundity.


Jay said...

God, thank you! I thought I was crazy for despising this show after all the hosannas. I found it tedious, smug, entitled, like The Laramie Project if Tectonic had condescended to all their subjects. Site is fantastic and marvelously written, keep it up!

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