Friday, September 28, 2007

Love Kills

photo: Sarah Sloboda

To be filed under "What Spring Awakening Has Wrought", this new (NYMF) musical has its characters stepping up to microphones to express themselves in emo songs. Since two of the characters are Charlie Starkweather and Caril Fugate, the two Nebraskan teenagers whose killing spree horrified the country in the mid 1950's (most memorably dramatized in the movie Badlands starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek) the style seems bizarre - why are they singing emo rather than the rock and roll that defined their time? The other two characters in the musical are a sheriff and his wife (Deidre O'Connell, the show's standout performance) who aim to get confessions out of the kids before lawyers arrive - turns out that they express themselves into microphones with emo songs too. It took me a while to accept the style of the show, but I never did accept the substance: the kids are romanticized, without irony or much regard for fact, as victims suffering for their deep binding love. The actual victims - the eleven people who died at their hands, including Caril's two year old sister - are listed in the show's playbill but are not suitably acknowledged in the show; Love Kills is an insulting cheat.

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