Monday, December 08, 2008

Improbable Frequency

This much-acclaimed musical, from Dublin's Rough Magic Theater Company, is the kind of unique and wacky that inspires cults, but I'm still scratching my head as to why it didn't do much for me. On paper, I ought to love it - it's like nothing else out there, it marches with integrity to its own drum, and it certainly isn't stupid. (In fact the script is on fire with clever wordplay; it's what held my interest through the first act.) The patter-rich music is entertaining and flavorful (one group anthem, "We Are All Of Us In The Gutter", is still with me) and there's nothing to complain loudly about as far as the ensemble goes. (In fact I found two of the performances - Peter Hanly as a crossword puzzle fanatic who is pressed into service as a code-cracking spy, and Sarah-Jane Drummey as a mysterios lass who may or may not be on his side - to be entirely delightful.) And yet after about an hour I had had quite enough: the setting of the story - namely, politically neutral Ireland during WW2 - seems irrelevant by the second act, and the zany silliness that ensues exhausted rather than charmed me.

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