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DEAD BOYS

ensemble theatre · msm · Ages 17+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by anonymous

June 18, 2017 certified reviewer

What I liked

The Acting was amateurish at best. Andrew Puente played the deeply troubled bully with two notes, and hit us over the head with each. He spent the first two thirds of the play ranting, raving and behaving like a slob and a brute, never once finding any subtlety whatsoever. He was so intensely unlikable that during the last third of the play when we’re supposed to see the frailty behind the beast I didn’t care in the least. His next note was that of meek and misunderstood, again one note banged out loudly. He spent the first two thirds of the play with one move he made over and over and over again, and that was putting his hands on his head. Find something else to do; please.

What I didn't like

Matthew Scott Montgomery fared a bit better, but not by much. His two notes were flighty nervousness and meek and shy. He flailed about so much with his hands it was hard to watch him. And he too resorted to one gesture which he used throughout the entire play. He was constantly touching his face which took on the form of an off-putting nervous tic, he did it so frequently. And often he put his hands in front of his mouth, which made it hard to understand what he was saying.

The direction, or lack of it, was appalling. The entire last third of the play the actors are sitting on the floor, which made them virtually invisible to more than half the audience. The space was horrendously configured with uncomfortable folding chairs stacked in rows directly each other. Only the first couple of rows in the center were raked. I was not in one of those rows, and I got so tired of craning my head to one side or the other to catch a glimpse of one of the actors that I gave up. The entire row behind me seemed to give up even trying to watch, and I believe one of them actually fell asleep.

I am disappointed so much because I see a kernel of what could have been a touching story in the hands of a truly creative writer, accomplished actors and a director with vision. All that in a space that more properly could serve as a theater and not as a room jam packed with chairs.

My overall impression

The premise of this play intrigued me, that of two complete opposites who find common ground in the end. Unfortunately major flaws in every aspect of the production resulted in a very disappointing experience.

The writing was elementary. The writer wanted to put two disparate characters in a situation where they couldn’t run away but had to either come together or die. However the lack of imagination in creating a non-specific apocalypse was trite and created more questions than it ever gave in answers. It seemed like a cheap way out. Nor were the characters fleshed out in any way. Each was a stereotype so overdone that after five minutes you knew pretty much everything there was to know.

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