Monday, March 3, 2014

Review - Arlington

I was very fortunate to receive a free ticket to last Friday's performance of Arlington, the new musical by Polly Pen and Victor Lodato.  I had seen an earlier incarnation of this piece over a year ago.  I greatly enjoyed it then and I really enjoyed it again (from the front row!) last Friday.

Arlington stars Alexandra Silber as Sara Jane, a military wife - the entire musical takes place over one day.  We see how the waiting and wondering about her husband is slowly affecting her.  The last time I saw the show, I'm pretty sure the wife was the only character.  For this more-extended rendition of the show, there is another actor involved.  He's the onstage accompanist, played by Ben Moss, and he also plays the role of several of the missing men in Sara Jane's life.

I find Arlington to be incredibly moving, as a dramatic piece and as a musical character study.  It's almost more like a poem rather than a musical, but that worked for me.  Silber is so terrific as this perky, upbeat woman who is relating her foibles and her fears; as the story progresses, the music, her performance and even the feel in the room changes.  Things get darker all around.  She evolves from a woman who has been conforming to expectations her whole life to a woman who seriously questions who she is and who she's married to.  I just found all of her flights of fancy and mood swings to be compelling and real.

I went back and looked at the review I did of the show last time I saw it; I noticed I used the phrases "...successful in integrating music, subject, character and actor. It all seemed to flow organically and presented a complete picture of a woman. The music she was singing sounded as if ONLY she should be singing it, which was amazing."  As I was again watching the musical unfold, I felt that way even more strongly.  This score just sounds so perfect to me - perfect as a piece from start to finish.  There aren't really any extractable songs, but that's what makes the whole thing work so well, I think.  It's a stream-of-consciousness sort of thing and I loved being on the ride.

photo credit: Carol Rosegg
I will say that sitting in the front row was a positive and a negative.  Being that close to Silber's pitch-perfect performance was inspiring, but, from my vantage point, I couldn't see Moss at all.  I could hear the audience responding to things he was doing, and I could see the set and lights slowly change behind the scrim, but my view was completely blocked by the couch set piece.  So I wish I could've seen the whole stage picture, I do admit.  I think I have to go back and see the show again from further back.  I'm sure I would also get more out of that gorgeous music with another visit.

In the interest of full disclosure, there were many people who seemed dissatisfied with their experience.  The show is only about 65 minutes long, but two people next to me were snoring pretty quickly.  And the couple next to me was arguing as I was leaving - he was very unhappy to have been 'dragged' there.  The reviews have been rather mixed, if that means anything.  Whatever.  I loved it and that's all that matters to me.

It's another full theater week for me and I'm really looking forward to it.  I hope I love them all!  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment