Sunday, July 13, 2008

Perfect Harmony

***1/2 (...out of 5 stars)
The Essentials

Two earnest, high strung High school acapella groups duke it out for the National championship in this darling quirkfest of a musical play currently running at The Clurman on Theater Row. Never mind that perhaps some of the cornball choices undercut the sincerity of the piece (a haz-mat suit as a performance costume?, estrogen injections?) or that a few of the sub-plots are extraneous and/or weakly resolved, there is a gallon of charm in this engaging look at angst-ridden teens throwing their hearts and souls into their extra-curricular activities. Each character has their own pet foible (Tourettes, TMJ, agoraphobia, etc.) and our cast here revels in these foibles giving us rich, hysterical characters that you want to slap and hug. And yes, there is plenty of singing and it's a whole hell of a lot of fun (my fave: an acapella rendition of George Michael's "Freedom 90"). I was all wrapped up in the acapella scene when I was in high school (baritone/tenor 2) and this play nailed the earth shattering impact that this scene can have on a awkward teen looking for something to believe in. Thumbs up. Oh! And HGA!

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