Oscar E Moore

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MURDER BALLAD transfer – a lusty rock opera fable for our times

May 23rd, 2013 by Oscar E Moore

For all you lonely young singles out there, here is a show for you.  But be forewarned: drinking and falling in lust with the wrong person in a bar could be dangerous to your health.  But you know that already.  Or should.

In this sung through rock opera by Julia Jordan (book & lyrics) and Juliana Nash (music & lyrics) infused with some country western type songs, a love triangle is played out literally in the lap of some audience members at The Union Square Theatre that has been refashioned with a long bar, a pool table, band stand and a bloody bat.

The audience is in on the action up close – on three sides and on the main playing area at small tables lit with electronic candles.   One of the best aspects of the piece is the expert and spot on lighting by Ben Stanton.

Poor drunken and unhappy Sara (a sometimes shrill Caissie Levy) has fallen hard for Tom (the sexy Will Swenson).  They are like two animals in heat.  Magnets that cannot be separated.  But he won’t commit.  She’s confused and drunk and meets the unsuspecting Michael – the voice of reason (a terrific John Ellison Conlee) and before the narrator (Rebecca Naomi Jones) can clue us in it’s years later and they have a child and Sara is unhappy again and rekindles the sparks that once flew with Tom.  You can imagine the results.

The staging by Trip Cullman is fantastic – making great use of the space although sometimes words are lost when we watch the backs of the actors or try to locate them.

Doug Varone has done an excellent job with the dance moves particularly atop the pool table and there is an in your face confrontation but the finale fizzles.

Someone is done in but it doesn’t matter who as we don’t really care for any of them – particularly Sara.  It’s an odd hour and a half long evening where you can buy a beer or whatever and watch the clichéd and heated passions of these unhappy dudes play out.

MURDER BALLAD was originally produced by MTC.

www.MurderBallad.com EXTENDED through September 29th

Photos:  Joan Marcus

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